He also could have been sent off for stamping on Distin's ankle and amusingly put a coin thrown at him from the crowd into his boot. Suarez's antics were only one part of what was a thoroughly entertaining Premier League fixture, packed with controversy, passion and fantastic football.
Surprisingly, Brad Jones was selected to start ahead of Pepe Reina in goal for the visitors, despite the Spaniard returning to training earlier in the week. Meanwhile, Glen Johnson was not risked after pulling up with muscle tightness on Thursday versus Anzhi, so Jose Enrique returned to the left back position he occupied for long spells last season.
As expected, the Merseyside derby began at breakneck pace. All four goals arriving in just over half an hour was slightly less expected. It all started after quarter of an hour, when Suarez drove the ball back into the area after Enrique's cross had evaded Sterling. Thankfully, a deflection off Baines took the ball into the Everton net and opened the scoring for the Reds.
|Moyes always knew Suarez was a diver!|
In response to Moyes' comments earlier in the week about diving, which were obviously if not explicitly aimed at Suarez, the number seven dived in front of the Scot in celebration. It was hilarious comedy from Suarez and, to be fair, Moyes took the banter well after the match.
Moyes' misery was doubled six minutes later, when Suarez nodded home a Gerrard free kick to confirm Liverpool's early supremacy. Unfortunately, a mistake from stand-in stopper Brad Jones immediately allowed the hosts back into the contest. He punched a corner kick right back into the danger area, where Osman stood unmarked. Although the 31-year old still had a lot to do as many bodies were between him and the goal, he managed to half-volley home from the edge of the area.
|Clinical- Osman exploits Jones' error to halve the deficit|
That was the extent of the officials' generosity, though, as they proceeded to make the Reds' task increasingly more difficult. In the build up to Everton's equaliser, the officials erroneously awarded the home side a throw in. Consequently, Fellaini's cross found Naismith, who evaded his marker Enrique before clattering home from close range.
The Toffees, who enjoyed 60% of possession during a remarkable recovery from going two goals down, continued to press before the break, the influential Mirallas seeing his shot from a tight angle palmed away by Jones and Coleman firing an impressive strike inches over the bar from distance.
On the stroke of half time, Phil Neville disgustingly dived and deservedly received a booking. The hypocrisy and irony of the Everton captain blatantly diving in the week that his manager derided players who go to ground too easily was not lost on the travelling Kop, who chanted "are you watching David Moyes?"
During the interval, Rodgers reverted to three at the back, replacing Sahin and Suso with Coates and Shelvey respectively.The away side also benefited from the injury to Everton's most dangerous attacker, Mirallas, which forced Moyes to replace him with Gueye. The Liverpool manager's clever tactical change stemmed the tide of Everton attacks and demonstrated his ability to respond to changing game scenarios appropriately.
Only four minutes after the restart, Liverpool had a gilt-edged opportunity to restore their lead. Enrique's excellent pass set Sterling through one-on-one with the keeper. Frustratingly, he lacked composure and mis-hit his shot, to the fury of Suarez, who was in a perfect position to score. At the other end, intervention from the on-form Skrtel was required to deny Jelavic a near certain goal after a clever one-two had took Agger out of the equation.
Jelavic then proceeded to head wide twice, before the spotlight almost inevitably returned to Luis Suarez. As he challenged for the ball with Distin, he caught the Everton defender on the ankle. The Toffees unsurprisingly appealed noisily for Suarez to be sent off, although a booking was probably the right decision as Suarez's tackle was more mis-timed than malicious.
With six minutes remaining, substitute Jordan Henderson did extremely well to steal possession on the by-line before crossing to Gerrard, whose snapshot was blocked by Jagielka. Fittingly, the match concluded with controversy. Gerrard's free kick into the box was knocked down by Coates to Suarez, who smashed home from yards out and then wheeled away in celebration. His joy turned to despair, though, when he turned round to see the linesman's flag up.
|Suarez and co. surround the officials at full time|
Nonetheless, Liverpool can take many positives from what was an entertaining Merseyside derby and, following four consecutive matches in which they were undefeated, the Reds have a platform from which to kick start their season.