Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has apologised to Everton and Stoke after criticising David Moyes’ team for playing long-ball football in the 2-2 Merseyside derby.
The England midfielder was frustrated after the Toffees came from two goals down to draw at Goodison Park on Sunday, and claimed Everton’s style of play resembled Stoke’s aerial approach.
However, after reviewing the game, Gerrard believes he went “too far” in his criticism of his rivals, confirming he has the “utmost respect” for both David Moyes and Tony Pulis.
“Just to clarify, I’ve watched the game again, and I’ve seen some of Everton’s matches this season, and what I said in relation to their style of play went too far,” he told reporters.
“It wasn’t my intention to disrespect Everton or Stoke for that matter and I certainly didn’t intend any disrespect to their manager or players.
“I have the utmost respect for David Moyes and Tony Pulis and the job they have done at their respective clubs.”
The 31-year-old admitted his reaction was partly down to his anger at Luis Suarez’s late effort being incorrectly ruled out for offside, and feels the Uruguayan has been unfairly treated in recent weeks.
He added: “I was frustrated by the disallowed goal from Luis [Suarez] when I spoke and also some of the things that have been said about Luis in recent weeks which haven’t been fair in my opinion.
“As captain I have a duty to stand up for our players when I feel they are unfairly singled out.”
Everton defender Phil Jagielka had earlier responded to Gerrard’s criticism by accusing Brendan Rodgers’ team of “passing it around for half an hour for the sake of it.”