Everton’s Ramiro Funes Mori issues apology for red card against Liverpool

• Funes Mori says sorry to Divock Origi and team-mates after sending off
• Everton facing shortage of defenders for FA Cup semi-final on Saturday

Ramiro Funes Mori has apologised to Divock Origi and his Everton team-mates for the red card offence that injured the Liverpool striker during Wednesday’s Merseyside derby rout.

The Argentina international became the first player sent off in a Merseyside derby for five years when he stamped on Origi’s ankle early in the second half at Anfield. Funes Mori’s recklessness resulted in the young Belgium international being carried off, Everton’s 10-men ultimately succumbing to a 4-0 defeat and Roberto Martínez losing the £9.5m defender for Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United.

Liverpool have confirmed Origi’s ankle is not broken and are awaiting the results of a scan on Thursday to determine the extent of the 21-year-old’s injury. Ligament damage would cost the in-form striker a place in next week’s Europa League semi-final against Villarreal and represent a severe setback to Jürgen Klopp.

In a statement published on social media, the Everton defender said: “I very much regret what happened yesterday. It was never my intention to harm a rival nor my colleagues leaving the field. And regarding Divock Origi, I fervently hope it’s nothing serious and know that was never my intention to hurt. I ask my apologies for what happened.”

The beleaguered Martínez is facing an anxious wait on his defensive options for the semi-final. Funes Mori will commence a three-match ban on Saturday, John Stones was forced out of the derby with stomach cramps, Phil Jagielka is recovering from a hamstring strain and Seamus Coleman is almost certainly out with a similar injury.

Stones, however, was involved in training at Finch Farm on Thursday and should be available for Wembley. Everton’s captain Jagielka has not been ruled out but Gareth Barry is expected to miss the semi-final with a groin injury that forced his withdrawal at half-time against Liverpool. Matthew Pennington will be recalled from a loan spell at Walsall to increase Martínez’s defensive options.


Andy Hunter

The GuardianTramp

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