Luis Suarez Once Again the Story as Liverpool and Everton Draw Mersey Thriller
For his opening act, 14 minutes in, Suarez saw his angled shot deflected past Tim Howard by Leighton Baines for an own goal.
First blood Liverpool, and Suarez celebrated with a theatrical dive in front of Everton manager David Moyes on the touchline—a clear riposte to Moyes' comments in midweek in which he'd highlighted Suarez's "history" as a diver.
Cometh the controversy, cometh Luis Suarez. We never doubted him for a second.
The Uruguayan's choice of celebration was perhaps ill-advised in the incendiary atmosphere, but the same could be said of Moyes' words in the buildup to the game, of course. As it turns out, Moyes rather enjoyed Suarez's comeback.
Moyes thought Suarez celebration was "great", said he was lucky to stay on for Distin foul, admits it was a goal in stoppage time.— Neil Jones (@neiljonesecho) October 28, 2012
Step away from the hyperbole, and both men are guilty of nothing more than expressing themselves.
Moyes could only stand and watch, with Suarez inches below his nose and writhing in delight beneath a sea of his jubilant teammates. "Very surprised my Dad didn't nut Suarez," tweeted his daughter Lauren—deleting her entry soon after, but not before it had gone viral.
Given Suarez's reputation, and his standing in the English game, there were plenty who'd like to have seen him try.
Worse was to follow for Everton. Six minutes later, Suarez lost Nikica Jelavic in the box and headed home an inviting free kick from Steven Gerrard to double Liverpool's lead.
Jelavic was culpable, as was the decision Everton made to have the striker mark Liverpool's most potent goal threat. Suarez's finish was calm and deadly, and now it was time to address his standing as one of the Premier League's very best.
Suarez continued to bring a threat, but by halftime goals from Leon Osman and Steven Naismith had given Everton deserved parity, and a riveting game was in the balance.
For the second half, Brendan Rodgers switched his formation to three at back, and a fascinating, full-blooded contest took on a different shape.
Both sides had chances. Raheem Sterling missed a one-on-one with Howard, and Baines claimed a penalty after being caught late by Martin Skrtel.
It was Everton on the front foot, but Liverpool looked a threat on the break and had pace to burn with Sterling and Suarez ready to explode at every opportunity.
With 20 minutes remaining, we were overdue for another Suarez talking point, and it arrived with a stamp on Sylvain Distin from behind. A yellow card followed and with it another round of Suarez character assassinations on Twitter.
Was it deliberate? Or just the natural conclusion of Suarez's forward motion? Only Suarez can say for sure.
He wasn't done yet. As we entered added time, Liverpool thought they'd snatched a dramatic winner. Sebastian Coates' header found Suarez and he poked home from close range.
Did Suarez deserve a red for Distain foul?
It would have been his hat-trick. Liverpool would have taken all three points, Rodgers would have captured a precious victory in his first Merseyside derby and Suarez would have left Goodison clasping the match ball and Everton hearts—ripped out by a man many felt should have been sent off.
But the goal was disallowed, wrongly, for offside. The game finished 2-2, and most would agree a draw was a fair reflection of the contest.
What they won't agree on, however, is anything and everything to do with the Liverpool No. 7, who will yet again dominate the agenda today.
Whatever your opinion of Suarez, there's no denying the Premier League would be a far duller place without him.
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