By Harvey Byrne
Everton defender Ashley Williams was among the controversy in Saturday afternoon’s Merseyside derby against Liverpool after a couple of clashes with Emre Can.
The 32-year-old Wales international played the full 90 minutes as his side fell to a 3-1 defeat at Anfield, picking up a yellow card.
However, many felt that he should have seen a more severe punishment after he was caught on camera bringing his studs down on the Reds midfielder, while eventually being booked for a sliding challenge with Can where his studs also met the German’s knee.
But, former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher feels that the decision to only card Williams was the right one, believing that both incidents weren’t intentionally set out to harm the opponent.
“I think this is totally accidental,” started Gallagher, speaking on Sky Sports News about Williams’ foot scraping down Can’s back.
“Here’s why, I think he’s got nowhere to go whatsoever and he takes his boot away very, very quickly. He does not put his boot down.
“I think he feels the body and he thinks ‘I’ve got to move my boot out.’ I think, for me nothing wrong it’s just natural contact of the game.”
But, Gallagher believes the decision to book Williams following his sliding clash with Can was the right one and no further punishment was needed.
“I think yellow card and the reason I think yellow card is because he’s gone low, he’s actually won the ball, but as we’ve said before that doesn’t negate the foul.
“I think what you have to remember is sometimes people react to the consequence. People say to me it was a red card because of the studs on his (Can’s) knee. Well that was actually a consequence of the second boot and I think he didn’t meant to do that.
“We just look at the gash on his knee and think ‘oh, that’s a terrible tackle’ when in actual fact it wasn’t a terrible tackle.”
Williams has built up a reputation for his physical play with both Swansea and Wales, which prompted Everton to shell out £12million for the experienced man.
However, he was unable to keep out a firing Liverpool team at the weekend as Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi all got on the score sheet.
There is currently just four places between the close rivals with eight games to play, but there is still a clear nine points between the Merseyside pair following the weekend’s result.
In other Liverpool news, here are three things expected from the Reds’ midweek meeting with Bournemouth.