Everton boss David Moyes able to see funny side as nemesis Luis Suarez is foiled


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The Independent Football

The joke may have been on him but David Moyes took it in his stride afterwards when conceding that Luis Suarez "is going to have to dive in front of a lot of managers now" after the Uruguayan celebrated Liverpool's opening goal with a theatrical tumble in front of the Everton manager yesterday.

For Suarez, the celebration was a little act of retaliation after Moyes's pre-match comment that diving from players like the Liverpool forward could turn people off football. Moyes offered a good-humoured response afterwards, when saying: "I actually quite liked that. [It was] the sort of thing I might have done if I'd scored."

While Moyes kept his cool, his daughter Lauren tweeted: "Very surprised my dad didn't just nut suarez." She later deleted the tweet and wrote: "Sorry if that offended anyone."

Moyes, however, did reveal his fury with Suarez for the second-half foul on Sylvain Distin that earned a yellow card from Andre Marriner. The Uruguayan appeared to catch Distin deliberately down the back of his right leg as he cleared with his left and for Moyes, it warranted a red. "I've got to say he was a really lucky man to stay on the pitch today for his tackle," he said. "If you've not seen the one down the back of his legs, it is definitely [a red]. I've seen the video of the tackle from behind, down Sylvain's leg. That was over the top, it is down the back of the legs."

There is no doubting Suarez's public enemy No 1 status on the blue side of Stanley Park – he scored in two of Liverpool's three victories over Everton last season – and in the second half, he picked up an object that appeared to have been thrown his way from the Gwladys Street end. Yet Moyes went on to suggest Suarez did not help himself with his antics.

"Sometimes the crowd take it from what the players do on the pitch, what the players do on the pitch sometimes has an effect on the crowd," he mused.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool's manager, spoke up in defence of Suarez, saying: "I didn't think it was a red. Sometimes you get that with strikers [making tackles]."

Rodgers responded to talk of Suarez diving by pointing out that Everton's captain, Phil Neville, had earned a booking for falling at the feet of Daniel Agger. "Do you want me to talk about Phil Neville? Don't start me," said Rodgers, although, in mitigation, the Everton captain did apologise when interviewed on Sky afterwards. "I got a good kick up the backside at half-time," he added.

As for the football, Rodgers's frustration at Liverpool's disallowed late strike was tempered by the performance of his young team. When Bill Shankly sent out six derby debutants at Anfield in 1970, Liverpool came from two down to win 3-2 They so nearly managed the same result. Rodgers argued that on top of the disallowed winner, Everton's equaliser came from a throw-in that should have been his team's, but sought to accentuate the positives. He said: "I'm bitterly disappointed. It was a brilliant game and I thought we stepped it up well in the second half. I was disappointed it didn't crown it. We are frustrated but at the same time, I am very proud when I look at my young team today in a real cauldron of an atmosphere and how they stood up to everything against a very, very experienced team. It was another terrific stride forward."

He added: "If you look at the team today, Raheem at 17, Suso at 18, Andre Wisdom 19, Jonjo 20, Joe Allen 21, Jordan 22, all [are] young players that will only grow and get better."

As for Moyes, who has won only four derby matches in his decade at Goodison, there was relief at his side's late let-off. "It was a goal, I have to say. I didn't think it was a foul on Gerrard. That was the wrong decision but it was also the wrong decision not to give the goal."

Ultimately it was a point gained from a losing position, and keeps Everton six points clear of their rivals in 12th place.