x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Sturridge saves Liverpool late against Everton

Daniel Sturridge netted in the 88th minute the draw Liverpool even with Everton 3-3 after they had blown a 2-1 halftime lead on Saturday.

Everton's Kevin Mirallas fouls Liverpool's Luis Suarez on Saturday. He received a yellow card for the challenge. Phil Noble / Reuters
Everton's Kevin Mirallas fouls Liverpool's Luis Suarez on Saturday. He received a yellow card for the challenge. Phil Noble / Reuters

Romelu Lukaku called the Merseyside derby his “best experience in club football” after a dramatic 3-3 draw at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring for Liverpool after just five minutes, but Kevin Mirallas had Everton level three minutes later before Luis Suarez restored the lead. A second-half goal from Lukaku, his second of the game, then looked to have handed the home side all three points, but substitute Daniel Sturridge snatched an equaliser for Liverpool with a minute to go.

Lukaku has made a dramatic impact since joining Everton on loan from Chelsea in August and is clearly enjoying his time in the north west.

“The best experience I ever had in club football,” he told BT Sport. “To play in such a derby is a great honour and to score two goals is great, but the pity is, we didn’t win.

“The manager said before the that game last week that we also had a lot of chances, but we had to stay positive and keep on working. That’s what we did today, we did our best, especially my teammates helped me to score two goals.”

The Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s decision to let the Belgian leave Stamford Bridge on loan has received a lot of criticism, but with the draw, Everton moved to fifth, three points behind Chelsea, and Lukaku believes Roberto Martinez’s men can continue to challenge at the top.

“I’m just doing my best,” he said. “I try to help my teammates. Week after week, I try to improve and to get the best out of my games and I think it’s going well right now.”

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was happy with his team’s spirit, but felt they should have taken the game from their city rivals when they had the chance.

“Obviously, it was a terrific game,” he said. “I’ve been involved in a few of these now and obviously they’re real heart-stoppers.

“We scored terrific goals, they’ve obviously come back well and then we’re behind in the game and we show yet again our resilience and our mentality to fight back.

“We went to 2-1 and should have gone 3-1 and that probably kills the game and then we went through a spell where we couldn’t keep the ball, we were too loose in possession and too easily just went along with it.

“All in all a wonderful game. When you come to one of your rivals, it’s very, very important that you don’t lose if you can’t win.”

Rodgers was upset that Mirallas was not sent off after a challenge that left Suarez looking in considerable pain.

Referee Phil Dowd produced only a yellow card, but Rodgers wanted more, and said: “I thought Mirallas should have gone. It was a really, really poor challenge. It would have been interesting if it was Luis Suarez that made the challenge, what the outcome would have been.

“It was nowhere near the ball, he’s gone at his knee and for a period of 10 or 15 minutes after that Luis was really struggling.

“They’re career-threatening challenges that we’re trying to eradicate from the game. It was a poor, poor challenge and definitely should have been a red card.”

sports@thenational.ae