Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson refused to blame Everton midfielder Ross Barkley for a horror challenge in a feisty Merseyside derby decided by Sadio Mane’s last-gasp winner on Monday night.
Forward Mane struck in the 94th minute to inflict Everton’s first Premier League defeat at Goodison Park since March and restore Liverpool to second place, six points behind Chelsea.
The other main talking point came when Barkley escaped with a booking for clattering England colleague Henderson with a high and late tackle, although the Reds skipper was quick to deny any lingering ill-feeling.
“I know Ross well. He’s a good lad and he mistimed the tackle,” he said. “He apologised after the match. Thankfully I’m alright. It’s a derby. When you’re on the pitch you give 100 per cent to win the game.
“It’s a great feeling to come here, derby day, and win. There’s no better place to win away from home. In the second half I thought we dominated and could have scored a couple more, but overall I’m happy with the win.”
Everton started at a ferocious pace and edged the first half, with defender Ramiro Funes Mori heading their best chance wide at a corner.
Liverpool turned the screw after half-time and Maarten Stekelenburg saved from Roberto Firmino in one of his last acts before sustaining an injury in a collision with team-mate Leighton Baines as the full-back slid in to deny Mane.
Substitute stopper Joel Robles also saved from Firmino but crucially did not reach a Daniel Sturridge shot that trickled past him and off the upright, allowing Mane to pounce and stab home.
There was still time for Firmino to go close again, only for Everton right-back Seamus Coleman to clear his shot off the line.