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‘Go in hard’ – Kevin Mirallas makes Luis Suarez revenge admission after Liverpool horror tackle

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Now retired from football, Kevin Mirallas discussed the foul in a wide-ranging interview about his Everton career

Former Everton midfielder Kevin Mirallas has admitted he premeditated his yellow-card tackle on Luis Suarez in 2013’s 3-3 Merseyside derby draw, though did not intend to damage the Liverpool striker.

The 2013/14 campaign saw Roberto Martinez lead the Blues to Europa League qualification in his first season at the club. Perhaps one of the most memorable matches that year was the high-scoring, out of control Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.

Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring after five minutes, though Mirallas replied instantly to equalise. Suarez then retook the lead for the visitors before the break.

A late Romelu Lukaka double seemingly snatched all three points for Everton, however Daniel Sturridge offered a reply of his own in the 89th minute, ending the scoring for the day as the two famous rivals split the points.

The tackles were flying in throughout the afternoon and referee Phil Dowd was forced to brandish the yellow card a total of seven times. One of those bookings came Mirallas’ way in the 36th minute, and the nature of his challenge on goalscorer Suarez caused quite a stir at the time.

Knowing he would not get to the ball in time, the Belgian committed to a flying tackle that resulted in the underside of his right boot connecting with the outside of the Liverpool No.7’s right knee. Suarez jolted in pain, rolling around on the floor in agony.

For Mirallas, now retired from professional football, there was one simple reason – repaying an old debt.

“My first season when we played the derby against Liverpool, Luis Suarez did a heavy tackle on me and I had to come off at half-time with an injury,” the 35-year-old explained to Everton’s official website. “I promised myself that next year if I play against him, I would go hard in any 50/50 tackle we had. I remember in the moment, I saw the ball and I went in hard.

“I must admit, though, it was never my intention to hurt or injure the player. That’s not what I am about. After a few seconds, I realised I had caught him toward the knee, and I was not comfortable with that. I was worried I might have caused a big injury – that wasn’t the aim.

“At the end of the day, the derby is all about these kinds of moments – especially on Merseyside. It’s what the people want to see.”

And so the midfielder escaped without further retrospective punishment. All these years later he appears remorseful for his actions yet feels a sense of justice having followed through on his word.

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