Everton 3 Liverpool 3 match report: Breathless derby given extra lift by flying Luis Suarez

Striker shows his class despite 7,000-mile trip though Liverpool need Sturridge to land point

Goodison Park

The first song they played as the teams walked off for the interval was “A Town Called Malice”. The last thing the players heard before they came back on was Jack Topping, an 11-year-old choirboy from Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, singing “Let it Be”.

This Merseyside derby was something similar, a mixture of the brutal and the sublime but, ultimately, it was a thrilling vindication of football’s values. Luis Suarez had crossed continents to make the game and it was worth the trip.

As his manager, Brendan Rodgers, pointed out, he might have travelled the 7,000 miles that separate Montevideo and Liverpool to be crippled by a challenge from Kevin Mirallas.

He played on. One of the less- remarked-on aspects of Suarez’s personality is his sheer appetite for the game, something all street footballers possess whether they be Wayne Rooney or Johan Cruyff, who kicked a ball in the shadow of Ajax’s old De Meer stadium, where his mother worked as a cleaner.

Given that he had flown from England to Jordan and then on to Uruguay and then back to Merseyside in a private jet belonging to the Liverpool owner, John W Henry, there would have been every excuse for Suarez missing this game. Given he has a new-born baby at home, his sleep deprivation must have been acute.

Suarez merits comparison with Cruyff, not least in his frustration with those team-mates who play their football at less exalted levels. With Liverpool leading 2-1, he wriggled his way through a blue wall of defenders to set up Joe Allen, who could have scored with eyes wide shut. Somehow, he contrived to miss and Suarez, who would have had an open goal had Allen looked up, exploded in fury. To those who ask why he is selfish, here was the answer.

Cruyff, like Suarez, could dish it out and there has been plenty of “previous” between the Liverpool striker and Mirallas, who had been injured by the Uruguayan in the last derby played at Goodison; the match in which Suarez had flung himself at David Moyes’s feet after being castigated for diving in the run-up to the fixture.

There was plenty of talk between the pair and when Suarez, who was hobbling after a challenge, ran for the ball, Mirallas’s studs struck the side of his knee.

This, however, was a breathless rather than a brutal derby and both managers blew hard when confronted by the microphones in the press room afterwards and asked to describe what had gone on.

Naturally, the questions focused on Suarez, who had a hand in the opening two goals. For the first he flicked on Steven Gerrard’s corner for Philippe Coutinho, who controlled the ball with his thigh and then whipped it into the goal beneath the Gwladys End. James McCarthy, on the line, succeeded only in diverting it into the roof of his own net.

The second goal was all his own. Gareth Barry brought him down from behind and, naturally, Suarez took the free-kick himself. There was a gap in the Everton wall. Suarez drove the ball through it perfectly and although Steven Pienaar dashed across to close the hole, it was too late. In between, Everton had scored. All the goals from two teams whose managers emphasise free-flowing football came from set-pieces. Leighton Baines, who was brought off with an injury just after the interval, delivered a free-kick that Mirallas pounced on.

And yet as the second half wore on, Everton looked the likeliest winner as they sort to give manager Roberto Martinez a fitting present for becoming a father on the eve of the match. Despite the loss of Baines, which saw Barry move to centre-half and Sylvain Distin to left-back, they looked stronger and fitter. The Liverpool midfield began to give way. Allen’s game disintegrated after his miss. Lucas Leiva, who had held everything together, was taken off, exhausted. Simon Mignolet denied first Gerard Deulofeu and then Romelu Lukaku in one-on-ones.

Then came the breakthrough. Lukaku took a free-kick from slightly further out than Suarez’s had been. The ball deflected off the wall and was brilliantly turned away by Mignolet only for another Belgian, Mirallas, to turn it back in. Barry slid in to meet it and missed. Lukaku was next and did not.

Then came another set-piece and another goal. Lukaku out-jumped Johnson to meet Mirallas’s corner and Goodison stood to celebrate what was obviously the winner. Only it wasn’t. Daniel Sturridge, who had come off the bench, was allowed to meet another Gerrard free-kick and the ball struck the net in almost complete, bewildered silence.

Rodgers didn’t start Sturridge after criticising England for playing him for 90 minutes against Germany when not fully fit. “He was still nowhere near fit to start,” said the manager. “I said to him before the game he has been a match-winner for us since he came in but he may have to do it from the bench. Thankfully he came in and got a great header.”

Everton (4-2-3-1): Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines (Deulofeu, 50); McCarthy, Barry; Pienaar (Stones, 83), Barkley, Mirallas (Osman, 88); Lukaku.

Liverpool (4-1-4-1): Mignolet; Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Flanagan; Lucas Leiva (Sturridge, 79); Henderson, Gerrard, Allen (Moses, 68), Coutinho; Suarez.

Referee: Phil Dowd.

Man of the match: Lucas Leiva (Liverpool)

Match rating: 8/10

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape