Ahh the Merseyside derby, often an utterly dire game (although not this time) it is sandwiched between inflating hype prior to the game and usually horrified disgust from at least one manager afterwards. Yesterday’s game was no different, and after losing to a last gasp penalty despatched by Kuyt, Moyes was the first to point out, like a jealous sibling, that Clatterberg gave two penalties to Liverpool, but even in the face of some very convincing penalty area violence, refused to grant Everton even one.
Moyes didn’t dispute the Phil Neville diving handball, but felt that Hibbert shouldn’t have been sent off; Clattenberg originally pulled out a yellow card for Hibbert, but after some friendly advice from impartial Stevie G, Clattenberg opted for the red instead. Moyes also pointed out that after Kuyt’s winner Jamie Carragher decided to switch codes and felled Everton’s goal machine Joleon Lescott with an ill-judged rugby tackle. Goodison roared in outrage, but Clattenberg somehow missed it, presumably too caught up in the Liverpool celebrations.
“I am not sure the first incident was a penalty. It was a coming together of two players and Gerrard’s arm goes across Hibbert before there is any contact…Gerrard slipped and Hibbert did not make a tackle…The referee pulled out a yellow card and then the Liverpool captain has a word with him and it becomes a red. Decisions are made, they happen, that is football. But in the last seconds of the game there is the chance for it to be corrected and it would have been a result Everton deserved. We deserved that penalty if not more, and if the other penalties were more blatant than that, then I am in the wrong game.”
So it looks like Clattenberg is definitely not on Moyes’ Christmas List, but the Everton manager denied he was just being bitter. Moyes wept:
“It can’t just be me being bitter, people asked was the referee biased and I can’t comment but we got nothing at all. I felt we were better than Liverpool. On another day we would have got another result, we did not play well but then Liverpool are not where they want to be either.”
And the merseyside derby wouldn’t be complete without Rafa stroking his chin and coming out with some anti-Everton allegations. Through the eyes of Rafa Benitez, Everton are dirty clodhopping long ball merchants, and the Lescott penalty claim? An obvious dive! Benitez said:
“In England you don’t like to see players diving so it was a surprise to me.They were playing long balls and we were trying to pass.We were trying to go forward, creating chances with the ball on the ground. It was difficult.”
Most referees are all too eager to make amends for a penalty awarded to one side, by granting a leveller to the other team at the faintest opportunity, but Clattenberg didn’t say a thing after the Carragher foul on Lescott – was it a case of Clattenberg seeing red and already thinking about the after-party with Stevie G and Rafa?