Ronald Koeman furious with Liverpool assistant manager for reaction to Ross Barkley challenge

Simon Hughes
The Independent
Koeman was unable to provide a solution to Everton's woes at Anfield: Getty
Koeman was unable to provide a solution to Everton's woes at Anfield: Getty

Ronald Koeman was furious with Liverpool’s assistant manager Zeljko Buvac following his reaction to Ross Barkley’s reckless lunge on Emre Can in the Merseyside derby.

The Everton manager cited the Bosnian after he remonstrated with officials for their failure to send Barkley off. Barkley was booked for the challenge but he was already treading a dangerous line by that point, having escaped censorship for previous tackles.

Koeman admitted that Barkley was fortunate to remain on the pitch and he did not mention Jürgen Klopp’s role in the aftermath, even though the German manager was just as animated as his assistant.

“It is always a bit different for the local boys in this Merseyside derby,” Koeman tried to reason. “Maybe he [Barkley] deserved two yellows for two tackles but if I watch the bench of Liverpool and one of the coaches looks the referee had to show eight red cards to Everton. I don’t like that.”

Koeman had spent Friday evening continuing his argument with Martin O’Neill on Twitter after Ireland’s manager referred to him as the “master tactician of the blame game.” Koeman had used his pre-match conference ahead of the Merseyside derby to blame O’Neill for exacerbating James McCarthy’s injury while on international duty.

McCarthy’s injury meant he was not available for Koeman against Liverpool. As a consequence of other key absentees, he was forced to field four players in his team who were 22-years-old or younger. Though one of them, Matthew Pennington, scored Everton’s goal, Liverpool’s victory was secured by Sadio Mané, Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi.

Klopp refused to be drawn into a debate with Koeman. “I think it is my job not to speak about him,” he said. “My staff is fine, really good boys. We understand the game, we want to be hard against ourselves and we wanted all the players to leave the games without injuries.”

Though unrelated to Barkley, Liverpool finished the game with an injury. Mané was helped off the pitch by medics after falling awkwardly as he chased the ball.

Klopp confirmed that the Senegalese forward is unlikely to play against Bournemouth on Wednesday but was optimistic his leading scorer will feature again this season.

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