• Decision denied Everton their first Anfield win since 1999
• ‘It was a goal, a legitimate goal,’ said Everton manager
David Moyes claimed the referee Michael Oliver cost Everton a legitimate first win at Liverpool since 1999 with his decision to disallow Sylvain Distin’s towering header at Anfield.
The 220th Merseyside derby ended goalless despite the Everton defender converting Leighton Baines’s 56th-minute corner, having beaten Jamie Carragher at the back post. The match official, however, blew for a foul by Victor Anichebe on Liverpool’s goalkeeper, José Reina, having warned the Everton striker and José Enrique for grappling prior to the corner being taken. “You wonder if he was going to blow up no matter what,” Moyes said.
Everton’s assistant manager, Steve Round, visited the match official’s room after an otherwise tame Merseyside derby where Oliver confirmed the foul was for Anichebe on Reina, not on Enrique or Distin on Carragher.
“It was a goal, a legitimate goal,” added the angered Everton manager. “The goalkeeper runs into Victor Anichebe and it’s a goal. The referee said that Victor impeded the goalkeeper but it was actually the goalkeeper who ran into him so it can’t possibly be a free-kick. It is frustrating because people are quite quick to remind me that I have not won here at Anfield but if you don’t get any decisions it is very hard to win here. And that is quite a regular occurrence when we come to Anfield.
“It was not a foul. It’s disappointing because it is not easy to come here and win. I need to have something going for me, you need to get something. I have been here a lot and I have drawn here quite a lot. We have not won but maybe what we are coming here with, a draw isn’t that bad a result and maybe we don’t get the credit for that. I thought we had a good chance to win.”
Moyes was also unhappy with the number of times that Carragher spoke to Oliver during the game. “I thought they were pen-pals,” he said.
Brendan Rodgers unsurprisingly took an opposing view of the Distin incident but rued the lack of a cutting edge in an otherwise improved second-half display. “I don’t think we were fortunate,” the Liverpool manager said. “It is one of those where if you’re the manager like myself you see it as the correct one. I’m sure David will be disappointed it didn’t stand.
“This was different to the decision when we played at Goodison [when Luis Suárez was wrongly denied a late winner]. Luis was clearly onside when he scored and, if you look at this decision, the referee has a clear view, the ball is in flight and before there is any contact from Distin he got his whistle blown. The decision was clear and that was Everton’s best possibility to score from a set piece. They are strong and aggressive but I thought we coped with that well.”
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