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20th Dec 2016

Liverpool star rushes to the defence of under-fire Ross Barkley after horror tackle

A captain's response

Darragh Murphy

It was one of the key talking points of the game.

With 20 minutes remaining and Liverpool continuing to hammer down the door in an attempt to break the deadlock, Barkley went in horrifically late on Reds skipper Jordan Henderson.

Barkley, an international teammate of Henderson’s, dived in with his right boot after the ball had gone.

Studs-up, Barkley left Henderson in a heap on the Goodison Park turf and fans were united in a belief that the Toffees midfielder should have been given his marching orders for such a dangerous challenge, which we can’t show you.

Barkley saw out the remainder of the game and, thankfully, Henderson was uninjured by the “tackle”.

The pair clashed again moments later when Barkley kicked the ball away before Liverpool could take a free kick, prompting plenty to theorise that there was some kind of problem between the players off the pitch.

But, in his post-match comments, Henderson admirably dismissed those suggestions and kindly gave Barkley the benefit of the doubt.

“I think it was pretty late,” Henderson told Sky Sports. “But I know Ross well. He’s a good lad and I’m good friends with him so I think he just mistimed the tackle.

Everton v Liverpool - Premier League

“Obviously after the game he apologised because it was a bit late but, thankfully, I’m alright. Like I say, I just think it was mistimed and you’re going to get them in derby games.

“It’s a derby! It doesn’t matter if you’re friends off the field or international teammates. When you’re on the pitch, you give 100 per cent to win the game and we’re doing that.

“And then after the game, you shake hands, you move on and wish them all the best. And, like I say, Ross is a good lad so I think it was just a mistimed one.”