If you’re a Stoke City fan obviously that would be high praise indeed but something suggests the Reds’ skipper had more derogatory intentions behind his claim.
“I thought we stood up to a team that are very similar to Stoke,” said Gerrard.
“Every single time they get the ball at the goalkeeper it comes in long.”
Everton had taken the plaudits before the game for their technical quality this season – something that in previous years they have perhaps been lacking.
But David Moyes’ side have been riding high in the Premier League this term – they currently sit comfortably in 5th place, whilst Liverpool mount their chase up the table in 12th.
Gerrard’s claims may have been apt for previous Merseyside derby encounters when, over the years, it would be true to suggest the gulf in quality between the two sides was of gulf proportions.
But Everton now boats the likes of Nikica Jelavic, currently their top scorer, Steven Pienaar (out injured on Sunday), Leighton Baines has developed one of the best talents in English football, Marouane Fellaini, and their new signing Kevin Mirallas who ran rampant down the left flank in the first half.
Perhaps Gerrard’s comments are a reflection of the impact new manager Brendan Rodgers is having on the team. His ‘total football’ ideals and passing out from the back possession retention football may be slowly sinking in at Anfield.
Everton are no Barcelona – but they’re no Stoke City, either. Everton are an ambitious, attacking, pressurizing team that bombards the opponent with fast, efficient football.
Especially on the wings, they have pace, vision, and flair and they have the engine of Pienaar and Fellaini to drive them in the middle of the park. Even the young Seamus Coleman is starting to look like he could stroll into almost any Premier League side.
Up front Jelavic is no Peter Crouch – he’s gifted with impressive technical ability – he can turn defenders inside out on his day and Mirallas looks to be one of the best buys of the summer.
Everton the new Stoke City? I think not – Gerrard ought to be more worried that Everton are the new Liverpool.
image: © Ben Sutherland