Kevin Mirallas has admitted he feared he would be sent off following his mistimed challenge on Luis Suarez and believes he may have been spared because it was a derby match.
Everton and Liverpool played out a thrilling 3-3 draw at Goodison Park but one of the major post-match talking points was a high Mirallas tackle on Suarez which left the Uruguayan with a cut knee.
Mirallas was booked but Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers felt he should have been dismissed, and the Belgium international concedes he was fortunate to stay on the pitch.
He insists there was no malicious intent and quickly apologised to Suarez, while his only explanation was that he felt the pressure of the situation.
"When I made the challenge the first thing I thought was that it was going to be a red card," said Mirallas.
"I was genuinely going for the ball but I know I caught him on the knee and I said sorry straight away.
"I might have been okay because it was the derby, because in those matches there is always a lot of contact, a lot of tackles going in. There is a lot of pressure on the players and the fans in these sort of games."
Mirallas stressed that his tackle on Suarez was in no way an attempt to exact revenge for a poor challenge by the Liverpool forward in a previous derby game.
He explained: "I had said to Suarez soon after the kick-off when we were standing close to each other 'do you remember last season, you kicked me?'
"He laughed and said 'yes, fair enough', but that tackle was nothing to do with a year ago. And Suarez played for a long time after that with no problem, with no injury, so he was okay, and I am glad he wasn't injured."
Rodgers claimed after the match that Mirallas' 'naughty' challenge could have ended Suarez's career.
He said: "I thought Mirallas should have been sent off. It would've been interesting if Luis made the challenge," said Rodgers.
"I have seen Kevin for a few years and he looks a real honest player but if you look at it in every way, real time and slow motion, it is a bad challenge.
"He caught him on the back of his knee and that can end your career.
"It was awful jumping in like that and it took Luis 10 or 15 minutes to try to run it off and he (Mirallas) had another one by the (far) touchline where he's jumped up and come down on the back of Luis."