LIVERPOOL captain Steven Gerrard emerged from another controversial Merseyside derby dismissing Everton as "similar to Stoke".
The midfielder claimed Brendan Rodgers' side were the only ones who played football in the 2-2 draw at Goodison Park and praised his team-mates -- which included three teenagers and five derby debutants -- for standing up to their near-neighbours.
And despite the Toffees being six points and seven places above them Gerrard insisted David Moyes' side were not the superior team in the city.
"I thought we were fantastic and stood up to a team that are very similar to Stoke," said the 32-year-old.
"Every single time they get the ball to the goalkeeper it comes in long.
"Everton are effective because they have some big, physical lads in the team.
"We had a young, small team out there who were men and stuck together.
"There was only one team who came to play football and that was us.
"Everton are not better than us."
Gerrard was full of praise for 17-year-old Raheem Sterling after coming through the taxing experience of his first derby, which included Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard racing out of his goal in what looked like an attempt to get the youngster sent off for a second bookable offence.
"Sterling was fantastic. He has been a revelation for us," added the England captain.
"Seventeen years of age away in a derby against a big, physical long ball team I thought he was outstanding.
"The way he stands up, wants the ball and doesn't hide is a credit to him and he's got some bottle.
"That's what you look for in young lads. You wonder whether they have the bottle to play away from home against tough teams and difficult situations and he handled it superbly.
"I don't think the Everton players would have known much about Raheem before yesterday but they are going to be seeing an awful lot more of him in future.
"He's going to be playing in many, many Merseyside derbies and he's going to have a major impact in them."
Despite Gerrard's assertion about Everton's aerial power, the stats don't back up his claims. On Sunday, the home side's best player was actually the diminutive Leon Osman.
Moreover, their biggest attacking threat came down the left side through Kevin Mirallas -- at least until Luis Suarez stamped on his foot and he had to withdraw injured.
Indeed, a statistical breakdown of the match shows that Everton managed 359 accurate passes to Liverpool's 257 and produced twice as many crosses (34 to 17), most of them low, driven balls from the left by Mirallas or Leighton Baines.
They also had more possession, more chances and committed fewer fouls than the visitors.