Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson absolved Ross Barkley of any blame for a late challenge that left him writhing in agony during the Reds’ 1-0 win over Everton in Monday’s Merseyside derby.
Barkley’s lunge caught England team-mate Henderson heavy on the ankle at Goodison Park and Toffees boss Ronald Koeman admitted he was perhaps lucky not to see red.
Referee Mike Dean instead opted only to book Barkley, whose challenge sparked a coming together between the teams that led to a yellow card for Everton full-back Seamus Coleman.
There was no animosity from Henderson after the match, though, and the Liverpool skipper also revealed Barkley had apologised for the challenge.
“I think it was pretty late,” he 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.
“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 team-mates. 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.”