Love him or loathe him, Luis Suárez is a man you just cannot keep out of the limelight and so it proved in a pulsating Merseyside derby. A match that featured a dramatic first-half fightback by Everton – from two down after 20 minutes to 2-2 after 35 – ended with everyone talking about Liverpool's Uruguayan No 7.
Suárez it was who celebrated Liverpool's opening goal with a Klinsmann-style swallow dive in front of David Moyes, the Everton manager who had suggested that Liverpool's South American "has got history" when it comes to taking tumbles.
That was just for starters. Suárez added Liverpool's second and then was denied a legitimate third deep in stoppage time when he lashed a close-range finish high into the net. As he ran away in celebration, the assistant referee raised his flag for offside – TV replays showed he was onside when Sebastian Coates flicked on a Steven Gerrard free-kick, leaving Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, to rue his side's luck.
"He is minimum level and he should have had his goal. It would have been a brilliant win for us."
In one of the most breathless first halves in the history of a fixture now 219 games old, Liverpool went in front after 14 minutes when José Enrique ran in behind Seamus Coleman and drove in a low ball cross. Suárez, arriving beyond the far post, drove in a low cross-shot that went in off the legs of Leighton Baines. Suárez made for the home dugout and threw himself down theatrically. "It's called Scouse wit," said Rodgers. Then Osman fouled Sterling as he sped away, Gerrard curled over the free-kick and Suárez was left free by Nikica Jelavic to nod the ball in.
Everton snatched a lifeline moments later. Brad Jones, deputising for the injured Pepe Reina, punched a corner to the edge of the box where Osman drove it back into the bottom corner. On 35 minutes it was 2-2 after Fellaini picked up a loose ball and fired it low into the six-yard box where, with Enrique ball-watching, Naismith scored his first for Everton.
An air of caution seemed to take hold after the break, but just when it seemed like a draw, that man Suárez found the net after Gerrard floated in a free-kick and Coates headed the ball on. Then came the flag and a huge sigh of relief around Goodison.
Suárez is minimum level and he should have had his goal. It would have been a brilliant win for us.