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Mirallas Expected Red

One of the main talking points of Saturday's derby match was the fact Everton's Kevin Mirallas escaped an ugly first half incident with only yellow, with even the player admitting he expected straight red.

Alex Livesey

"Sometimes when you put a tackle in you think ‘oh shit,'" admitted a refreshingly honest Kevin Mirallas when asked about the first half tackle that left blood marks on Luis Suarez' knee and left just about everyone expecting that the Everton midfielder would be seeing red from match official Phil Dowd. Everyone, of course, except for referee Phil Dowd, who despite appearing to have taken up a decent position and taking the time to converse with his assistants only saw fit to pull out a yellow card.

"When I made the challenge the first thing I thought was that it was going to be a red card," continued Mirallas. "I was genuinely going for the ball but I know I caught him on the knee and I said sorry straight away. I might have been okay because it was the derby, because in those matches there is always a lot of contact, a lot of tackles going in. There is a lot of pressure on the players and the fans in these sort of games."

So that would make Phil Dowd about the only person on the planet who didn't think going in studs first, boot high, and drawing blood from a players' knee was worthy of anything less than a red. Though when it comes to English referees working overtime to keep everyone on the pitch in big games, Dowd still has a ways to go to match Howard Webb's bizarre decision to let Nigel de Jong get off lightly for a flying kung fu kick that sent his studs into Xabi Alonso's chest at the last World Cup.

Mirallas, rather amusingly, also finds himself opposite his manager on the issue of Saturday's challenge, after Roberto Martinez let the world know he didn't think it was red because "it is not a malicious incident." Perhaps the FA has a subsection about high, studs up challenges that could break a player's leg being hunky dory if the player doing the challenging is a nice sort who wouldn't do that kind of thing with intent and Dowd and Martinez are the only ones who know it.

Liverpool, though, can only really blame themselves for their struggles on the weekend, as a failure to adjust to increasingly being overrun in midfield in the second half inevitably ended with a Romeu Lukaku equaliser and then—following the bizarre decision to remove a man from a midfield that was already struggling—his go-ahead goal, though some late heroics from Daniel Sturridge did earn the visitors a point.

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