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Offshore drilling, England: at Everton 2, Liverpool 2

Oct 28, 2012, 11:38 AM EDT

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Man of the Match: Luis Suárez detracted from his own play when, celebrating the first (ultimately, own) goal, he ran to the Everton bench to bellyflop in front of David Moyes, an orchestrated response to the manager’s critique of the Liverpool forward’s diving. Thankfully, Suárez managed to stay on his feet for most of the afternoon, scoring a goal of his own in the 20th minute. In second half stoppage time, he nearly capped his villainous performance when he put in a shot from five yards out  only to have the assistant referee wrongly wave it off.

It was a quintessential Suárez performance. He was the best player on the field, but his antics detracted from his brilliance, even if Moyes’ comments baited the celebration. On a day he was nearly heroic, he adorned the mask of the villain. With Suárez, there seems no other way.

Packaged for takeaway:

  • The energy of a Merseyside derby met with sloppy first half defending to produce four goals by intermission, two for each side. After a horrible Premier League Saturday, we needed something to cheer about.
  • The own goal hit off Leighton Baines by Suárez opened the scoring, Everton’s defense left in rivets after Seamus Coleman’s mistimed challenge took the right back out of the position, allowing Suso to put a ball through the box from the left. Despite fouls by Baines and James Naismith (the former a possible penalty), play was allowed to continue. When Baines turned toward Suárez after taking down Raheem Sterling, the Everton left back had just enough time to see the shot deflect off his leg an into goal.
  • Suárez doubled Liverpool’s lead in the 20th minute, heading a Steven Gerrard cross into the lower left hand corner after Leon Osman committed a foul in a dangerous spot.
  • The Everton midfielder, playing inside in the absence of Darron Gibson, made amends two minutes later, his 18-yard volley after a weak punch from Brad Jones (playing for Pepe Reina) sailing into the left side of Liverpool’s goal.
  • At the 30-minute mark, lax defending on an Everton throw-in allowed a Marouane Fellaini cross to float into the six. Naismith had an easy finish after José Enrique, having drifted inside from his left back position, failed to act.
  • Predictably, the match settled down in the second half, with each manager making (or, having to make) tweaks coming out of the dressing room. Everton’s Kevin Mirallas, the team’s best player over the first 45 minutes, was injured and came off for Magaye Gueye. Liverpool shifted from a two to a three-man central defense, bringing Sebastian Coates on to play between Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger.
  • The change helped reinforce the defense, but it also handed the initiative to Everton (who, in fairness, were already dictating play in the first half). For the first half hour after intermission, Everton had Liverpool packed in their own end, even if the change in formation meant there were fewer chances to be had.
  • Perhaps it was Liverpool’s unfamiliarity with the 3-5-2, but the Reds didn’t look comfortable coming out of their own half until the match’s last 15 minutes. Then they were able to create chances for Gerrard (blocked by Phil Jagielka) and Suárez (blocked by Baines), though aside from one painfully missed Raheem Sterling chance, they were never able to truly test Tim Howard.
  • In the 93rd minute, a restart headed down by Coates was put home by Suarez, giving Liverpool an apparent winner. A late call by the assistant referee kept the goal of the scoresheet, though it was unclear why the flag went up. Most often, the call is offside, but Suárez was clearly on. While Coastes seemed to climb over the back of an Everton defender, it would have been difficult for the AR to see the foul from his position. Regardless, Liverpool’s winner came off the books.
  • By full time, the match had given us an antidote to Saturday’s sleeping spell, though it was poor defending rather than exquisite execution that produced the final score. A review of the team sheets sees few player who stood out for their excellence (Mirallas, Suárez) than those who were exposed for their weaknesses.
  • The win pushes Everton back up to fourth, passing Arsenal, while Liverpool remain in the bottom half.
  1. footballer4ever - Oct 28, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    (SMH in disbelief). Suarez, Suarez, Suarez! You are a grown up man, act like one. If you are labeled as a known diver it’s because you are exactly that. There is no other way around it. Now, to celebrate in that manner justifies Everton’s comments were thruthful. You’ve created your own reputation and the only way to erase it is by not be probe to dive on purpose.

    Going off topic, but within Premier league boundaries, Is it true NBC will be getting the rights to the English Premier League??? I hope to read more on this soon from one of you.

  2. billobrienschindimple - Oct 28, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    I wonder what Moyes has to say about his own captain being booked for diving.

    • Richard Farley - Oct 28, 2012 at 4:05 PM

      The irony, right? For his part, Neville admitted it after that match. He also said he got a tongue-lashing at half time b/c of it.

  3. footballer4ever - Oct 28, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    What’s good for the geese is good for the gander. Therefore, eradicating those make believe dives should be a league’s concern which should be policed and penalized to reverse that negative philosophy to get a non physical attribute advantage over others by misleading the referee.

  4. billobrienschindimple - Oct 28, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    I’m sure he did.

    Even though I’m a red through and through I have a ton of respect for Moyes. Nobody does more with less. It just really bothers me when managers talk about players on other teams. Fergie is by far the worst of them all in that regard.

  5. jonathan042012 - Oct 28, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    Diving is a disgrace and becoming part of the game,..what a shame!! Renaldo I call him out,..a big strapping, talented kid, who dives as good as any Olympic Gold medal spring board winner,..what a joke.

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