Everton centre-back Ramiro Funes Mori has offered a heartfelt apology to Liverpool striker Divock Origi as well as the Toffees' supporters following his actions during the Merseyside derby hammering at Anfield. The 25-year-old was shown a straight red card by referee Robert Madley five minutes into the second half, before gesturing towards the club badge and the travelling support as he left the field.
Origi left the field on a stretcher and faces an anxious wait to discover the full extent of the damage to his ankle. Reds manager Jurgen Klopp has ruled out a break but the Belgium international is a major doubt for the remainder of the season, as well as the summer's European Championships.
Funes Mori has come in for significant criticism from ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher for his behaviour both before and after the challenge on Origi, who had opened the scoring for the home side before goals from Mamadou Sakho, Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho capped a 4-0 drubbing. The Argentina international has moved to apologise for his conduct during the game and insists he did not intend to hurt Origi.
"I very much regret what happened yesterday [against Liverpool]," he said in a statement on Twitter. "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 dismissal leaves Everton with a defensive selection crisis ahead of the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United. John Stones went off with stomach cramps and will be assessed ahead of the game, adding to an injury list that includes Phil Jagielka, Seamus Coleman, Brendan Galloway and Tyias Browning.
Manager Roberto Martinez is without Funes Mori for the next three matches and says the defender should have avoided the challenge, which reduced his side to 10-men and allowed Liverpool to take a grip on the game. "It is a challenge he should be avoiding," he told Sky Sports.
"You're getting carried away with the emotion of the derby, maybe the first time Ramiro is involved in this kind of game and he got carried away. A red card? I don't know he is trying to challenge for the ball. I can understand the red card. Maybe a yellow card I can understand as well. We didn't cope with the emotions of the occasion and we didn't control ourselves. The referee should not have been given the opportunity to give a red card from our point of view.