English Premiership

Barkley enjoys home comfort as Everton win

2017-04-15 18:39
Ross Barkley (Supplied)
Ross Barkley (Supplied)

Liverpool - Ross Barkley put an awkward few days behind him by starring in Everton's 3-1 win at home to Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday.

Victory saw the Toffees leapfrog Manchester United into fifth place on goal difference.

But United, who, have three games in hand on Everton, will regain fifth spot if they avoid defeat against Premier League leaders Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Saturday's match came just hours after Everton banned The Sun tabloid from their Goodison Park ground over an article about Barkley in which the England midfielder was compared to a "gorilla at the zoo".

Everton captain Phil Jagielka gave the Toffees a 49th-minute lead when he scored his third goal in three games, the central defender's header going in off the post before he thumped the ball over the line to make sure there was no doubt at all.

But it took Lancashire rivals Burnley just minutes to draw level at 1-1.

Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles needlessly brought down Sam Vokes as the forward headed away from goal to concede a clear penalty.

Vokes himself then scored from the ensuing spot-kick.

Everton, however, regained the lead in the 71st minute when Barkley's shot took a huge deflection off Burnley defender Ben Mee for an own-goal.

Three minutes later, Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku scored in his ninth consecutive game at Goodison when he outmuscled Burnley defender Michael Keane before smashing a shot past goalkeeper Tom Heaton.

The last Everton player to achieve such a feat was Dixie Dean in 1934.

Earlier on Saturday, Everton said The Sun had been banned from both Goodison and their training ground, as well as "all areas of the club's operation".

The article in Britain's best-selling newspaper concerned the 23-year-old Barkley getting into a fight in a nightclub in Everton's home city of Liverpool.

Columnist Kelvin MacKenzie compared Barkley, who has a grandfather from Nigeria, to a "gorilla at the zoo" and said the only other people in Liverpool with his income were drug dealers.

The article was headlined "Here's why they go ape at Ross" alongside pictures of Barkley and a gorilla.

"Whilst we will not dignify any journalist with a response to appalling and indefensible allegations, the newspaper has to know that any attack on this city, either against a much-respected community or individual, is not acceptable," said Everton.

Meanwhile The Sun's publisher News UK said in a statement that MacKenzie "had been suspended with immediate effect".

MacKenzie said he had no idea of Barkley's family background and added: "For the mayor of Liverpool and a handful of others to describe the article as racist is beyond parody."

The Sun and MacKenzie are deeply unpopular in Liverpool.

MacKenzie was the paper's editor in 1989 when it published allegations about the behaviour of fans of Liverpool, Everton's local rivals, in the Hillsborough stadium disaster.

Saturday marked the 28th anniversary of the tragedy in which 96 Liverpool supporters died.

Liverpool banned The Sun from their Anfield stadium and their training ground in February this year over the paper's 1989 Hillsborough coverage.

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