• 'There was only one team trying to play football,' says Gerrard
• Liverpool captain criticises Everton's Phil Neville for diving
Steven Gerrard has kept controversy simmering from the 219th Merseyside derby by labelling Everton a long-ball team similar to Stoke City and claiming Liverpool were the only side that tried to play football at Goodison Park.
Liverpool were incensed at being denied a legitimate stoppage-time winner in Sunday's 2-2 draw when Luis Suárez was incorrectly ruled offside as he converted a header from Sebastián Coates. David Moyes argued Suárez was lucky to have been on the pitch at that stage, having escaped with a yellow card for a dangerous challenge on Sylvain Distin.
Gerrard was on his knees celebrating in front of Liverpool's supporters by the time Suárez's effort was disallowed by the referee, Andre Marriner, following a flag from his assistant Simon Bennett, and the Liverpool captain could not hide his frustration as he criticised the match officials and his Everton counterpart, Phil Neville, for a ridiculous dive. The England captain also reserved his anger for Moyes' tactics.
"There was only one team who came into the derby trying to play football," said Gerrard. "Everton are effective because they have some big physical lads in the team and are very direct. They are effective. But the only team who tried to play football was us.
"Everton are not better than us. I thought we stood up to a team that are very similar to Stoke. Every single time they got the ball to their goalkeeper it came in long. We had a young, small team and they were all men and stood together. We deserved the win."
Gerrard's comments echo the post-match claims of the manager, Brendan Rodgers, who reverted to a 3‑5‑2 formation in the second half to combat Everton's aerial threat and to play on the counter-attack. Moyes' team dominated after conceding two early goals, though an injury to Kevin Mirallas reduced their threat and Liverpool almost capitalised in a nervous finale, and the match statistics do not support Gerrard's assessment. Everton enjoyed more possession than Liverpool (56.2% to 43.8%), made more passes (400 to 314), had greater passing accuracy (78.5% to 76.8%) and played proportionally fewer long passes (13.8% to 14.6%).
There was, however, no argument over the legitimacy of Suárez's late effort. Gerrard added: "There is no offside and it's difficult for me to explain it. The only person who can explain it is the linesman. I asked him after the game if it was offside and he said: 'I think so.' That's not good enough. If every decision in this league is based on 'we think so', then we're in trouble. The linesman got it badly wrong. The benefit of the doubt is supposed to go to the attacking player anyway. And for their second goal it's a clear throw-in to us. The linesman gives us the throw but the referee saw something different. I feel sorry for our lads because I thought we were fantastic and deserved to win."
The Liverpool captain claimed Neville had "badly let his manager down" by diving after Moyes had condemned Suárez for theatrics in the pre-match build-up. He said: "With what he said about Luis Suárez before, David Moyes was trying to get in the referee's head, which is fine, that's all part of the game, stuff like that, but you don't expect your captain to dive like that."
Gerrard did reserve praise for Raheem Sterling, Liverpool's 17-year-old winger, who overcame a difficult start to impress on his Merseyside derby debut. The Liverpool captain added: "Sterling has been a revelation for us. To be 17 years of age away in a derby, in a cauldron of an atmosphere against a big, physical long-ball team, I thought he was outstanding. I don't think the Everton players would have known too much about Raheem Sterling before Sunday. But I think they are going to be seeing an awful lot of him in the future. He is going to be playing in many, many Merseyside derbies. He is going to have a major impact in them.
"He is going to be one of the top players in the league, there's no doubt about it. The way he stands up for himself, wants the ball and doesn't hide. It's a credit to himself. He has some bottle. That's what you look for in young lads. You wonder whether they have the bottle to play away against tough teams in tough situations and he handled it superbly."