However, for his first Merseyside Derby, Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp urged his players to remain calm during the match hosted by Liverpool’s stadium at Anfield. Noting that he only sees aggressiveness as “being prepared to hurt yourself, not somebody else,” Klopp stressed the fact that he did not want to see more red cards during the Derby.1
Apparently, Everton defender Ramiro Mori did not get the message.
Four minutes into the second half, Mori lunged in with a crushing left foot on the ankle of Liverpool’s Divock Origi. The challenge was so strong that it left Origi on crutches. After appearing to consult with one of his assistants, the referee handed Mori a straight-red card, sending him off the pitch. Mori and the rest of the Everton squad were livid at the call, and as Mori ran off the pitch, he appeared to grab his badge as some sort of misplaced show of pride. He even clashed with one of his assistant bosses as he approached the touchline.2
Quite frankly, Mori’s behavior was nothing short of disgusting. The initial tackle on Origi was nasty enough in and of itself, but it was the actions after the fact that truly set him apart as the villain of the day. The Merseyside Derby incites passions from both sides of fans, passions that manifest themselves in volatile, and sometimes belligerent ways. But in the case of Mori, where you might try to justify his aggressive tackle as a manifestation of passion, there’s simply no justifying his show of arrogance as he left the field.
Recently, Mori has come out and apologized for his actions, stating that he regrets what happened and that it was “never (his) intention to harm a rival nor (his) colleagues leaving the field.”3 However, absent from his apology was any acknowledgement or explanation of what happened after the tackle. It’s easy to apologize for a mistimed or aggressive tackle that leads to the injury of another player. After all, this is not too uncommon in soccer. However, acknowledging that you were arrogant and proud, and then subsequently apologizing for it, is a much greater feat. Ultimately, it’s something Mori should do if he wants to reclaim any respect from the footballing world.
Mori’s actions cast a huge shadow on the match, which was overall dominated by Liverpool as they held Everton scoreless while netting four of their own.4 His stunt caused a headache for Everton manager Roberto Martinez, who is already struggling with his defensive options for the FA cup semi-final.3 Additionally, Klopp now has to deal with the prospect of not having Origi, who has been in top-form recently, for the coming matches.
Looking back, Klopp might have been able to coach his players into keeping their cool, but unless both sides can play with less hostility, the Merseyside Derby may never lose its reputation as an aggressive matchup.
Then again, maybe that’s what keeps it interesting.
- Agency (2016, April 19). Liverpool vs Everton: Jurgen Klopp wants a new type of aggression in the Merseyside derby. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/liverpool-vs-evertonl-jurgen-klopp-wants-a-new-type-of-aggression-in-the-merseyside-derby-a6991561.html
- Prenderville, L. (2016, April 20). Jamie Carragher slams Ramiro Funes Mori and “embarrassing” Everton after Merseyside derby thrashing – Mirror Online. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/jamie-carragher-slams-ramiro-funes-7800223
- Hunter, A. (2016, April 21). Everton’s Ramiro Funes Mori issues apology for red card against Liverpool. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from http://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/apr/21/ramiro-funes-mori-everton-apology-liverpool
- Rose, G. (2016, April 20). Liverpool 4-0 Everton. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/35624290