For the second successive weekend, Luis Suarez's manager and team-mates gathered round their striker to defend his reputation. Against Manchester United it was Patrice Evra's accusations of racism that had stung; here was the suggestion that the Uruguayan, however talented, dives when it suits him.
When he was at Ajax, Suarez gained a reputation for conning referees. However, in a game where he struck the post twice during a contest in which Liverpool aimed 29 shots at John Ruddy's goal, it was Peter Walton's belief that Suarez dived when seemingly brought down by Marc Tierney that lingered.
Kenny Dalglish said that those who questioned Suarez's integrity were those whose own integrity was not beyond question. They were words seemingly aimed at Old Trafford and backed up by the Liverpool left back, Jose Enrique.
"The truth is that it should have been a red card for their centre-back because he kicked Luis, I have seen the video of it," said Enrique, referring to the fact that Tierney had already been booked. "Alex Ferguson defended his team because we played them last week and that is normal. Luis is a really dangerous player and a really nice guy. He doesn't dive. Some Manchester United players go into the swimming pool. We defend our players; they defend theirs. That is normal."
Suarez played fabulously against a Norwich side that displayed guts and no little ability, although but for the brilliance of a goalkeeper who was once on Everton's books, they would surely have been swept away. Norwich may have played better in defeat at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford but it was not lost on anyone at Anfield that Chelsea and Manchester United had each collected three points.
There were similarities to the opening game of the season where Sunderland somehow clung on in a first half that should have seen them crushed and forced a draw. "Against a team like Norwich we have to win if we want to be in the Champions League next season," said Jose Enrique, who is part of a defence that is yet to keep a clean sheet at home so far this season.
"The best teams in this league would win against teams like that – even though we respect them. At home we have to win. It is harder away but we have lost two points. I hope in the future we will not look back and need those points."
Ruddy, whose surname is a gift to any headline writer, will look back on this game and recall it forever.
"I have really fond memories of Liverpool," he said afterwards. "It is an unbelievable city and I really enjoyed my time up here. To come here, put in a performance like that and come away with a point is great. Hopefully, in a few months' time we will go one better at Goodison." However, Dixie Dean was playing the last time Everton managed 29 shots in a single afternoon.
Booked: Norwich Tierney.
Man of the match Ruddy.
Referee P Walton (Northamptonshire)
Striker to make his case in evra row
Luis Suarez will this week tell the FA that Patrice Evra's allegations he racially abused him at Anfield are unfounded and run contrary to the way he behaves on the field of play. The FA, who interviewed Evra in person at United's Carrington training base on Thursday, is expected to seek the Uruguayan's views at Melwood, either today or tomorrow. Though the interview with Suarez must take place in the interests of a fair and balanced investigation, the FA does need proof from Evra that he did receive racist abuse before they can conclude that Suarez has a case to answer. Evra's decision not to notify referee Andre Marriner immediately may weaken his caseReuse content