Suarez denied all the glory

Mon, Oct 29, 2012, 00:00

Everton 2 Liverpool 2:DAVID MOYES was wrong on one count about Luis Suarez: theatrics may well deter supporters from paying good money to watch a manipulated result but they cannot divert their gaze from the unavoidable draw that is Liverpool’s number seven.

There was a certain inevitability to the 219th Merseyside derby from the moment the Everton manager condemned Suarez and his “history” of diving on Friday. Namely, that it would return to bite his Scottish rear. The Uruguay international inflicted two punishing blows with a central role in the Liverpool goals that sparked a pulsating Everton comeback. But he could, and should, have left a deeper imprint at Goodison Park. He was prevented from giving Liverpool the first major Premier League win of the Brendan Rodgers’ era only by an assistant referee’s errant flag for offside in stoppage time.

But Suarez being Suarez, that was not all.

He also responded to Moyes’ criticism with a celebratory dive in front of the Everton dugout, one that sparked mock outrage and claims of incitement afterwards. Nonsense, of course. And at least Suarez can no longer use the footballers’ usual excuse of never having read the papers.

Far worse was the spiteful challenge down the back of Sylvian Distin’s ankle for which he received a yellow card from referee André Marriner. Moyes viewed it a red card offence. Distin was simply lucky his foot was not embedded in the pitch when contact was made, and a break was avoided.

But this failed to detract from an open and entertaining derby in which both teams exited with cause for regret and relief.

Everton will rue their dreadful start and failure to punish an inexperienced Liverpool side during a dominant, Kevin Mirallas-inspired finale to the first half. Liverpool’s regrets lay in stoppage time and the inability to withstand Everton’s belligerent reaction to falling two goals behind.

Moyes’s team began carelessly, with slack passing and an exposed midfield while Liverpool appeared content to counterattack through Suarez and Raheem Sterling throughout.

They opened the scoring when Marriner played a good advantage following a foul by Steven Naismith on Suso and allowed José Enrique to reach the byline. His low centre evaded the Everton defence and the ball fell to Suarez at the far post and his low shot struck the left-back and flew in. Suarez headed straight for the Everton dugout where, arms folded across chest, he executed a dive in front of Moyes. A quiet word from Marriner sufficed.

Six minutes later Suarez had a goal of his own when the Everton defence disintegrated at a Steven Gerrard free-kick. The Uruguayan was completely unmarked in front of goal as he glanced a header beyond Tim Howard.

Everton needed an instant response to avoid another derby day spent agonising over a wasted opportunity and got one when Brad Jones punched a Baines corner to Leon Osman on the edge of his area. Osman drove the return through a packed goalmouth, in off Joe Allen’s heel, and the contest was back on.

Moyes’s side dominated the rest of the opening half with Mirallas the key figure as he tormented the unprotected Liverpool right-back André Wisdom. A combination between the Belgians, Mirallas and Marouane Fellaini, conjured a deserved equaliser when the latter drove the ball across the Liverpool goalmouth and Naismith prodded home from close range.

Besides the goals, there was enough incident to keep rivalry aflame.

As full-time approached Suarez converted from close range but the assistant referee had flagged for offside – wrongly, it transpired and Everton were spared.

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