Luis Suarez rescued a point for Liverpool with a sublime goal that owed nothing to his alleged penchant for diving in a 1-1 draw at home to 10-man Newcastle United at Anfield on Sunday.
This season, the Uruguay international striker has been on the receiving end of repeated charges from rival managers that he goes to ground too easily.
However, Suarez delivered a timely reminder of his skill in the 67th minute at Anfield when he drew Liverpool level after Yohan Cabaye had given Newcastle the lead.
Jonas Gutierrez gave possession away to Jose Enrique, who punted a ball into the Newcastle box.
Suarez brought the ball under control, skipped past Fabricio Coloccini and coolly rounded Magpies goalkeeper Tim Krul in a sweeping solo move.
Coloccini’s day got worse when he received a straight red card six minutes from time for a wild challenge on Suarez.
Cabaye had put Newcastle in front two minutes before halftime with a superb strike across the face of goal and into the far corner of Brad Jones’ net following a cross from Hatem Ben Arfa.
“We were outstanding,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers told the BBC. “Our possession and intensity was relentless. We went to sleep for the goal, but I thought we deserved the three points. Suarez’s goal was brilliant and he has been fantastic. His first touch from that height, and touch, was an incredible piece of skill and he is a world-class striker. Most people in football know he is a threat, he plays the false [No.] 9 role like [Lionel] Messi does at Barcelona. He will be disappointed we did not win.”
The draw left Newcastle in 10th place in the Premier League, while Liverpool climbed into 12th spot.
“We looked comfortable at 1-0 and lacked concentration for their goal,” Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said. “We looked to keep hitting them on the break, but they are clever and Suarez is a great player. He was causing us problems and if we could have wrapped him up, we would have won the game. It has been a tough day for us. The sending off doesn’t look too clever, Coloccini tries stopping himself to some extent and there not too much intent there. The lineman has given it and we have to accept that.”
Earlier on Sunday, Queens Park Rangers and Reading were still both left searching for their first league win of the season after sharing the points in a 1-1 draw at Loftus Road in London.
However, the result did see QPR at least climb off the bottom of the table, leapfrogging Southampton on goal-difference ahead of the Saints’ match against West Bromwich Albion yesterday.
Former QPR defender Kaspars Gorkss opened the scoring for visitors Reading in the 16th minute, but Djibril Cisse earned QPR a draw with a 66th-minute equalizer.
Afterwards Cisse insisted QPR, who spent heavily in preseason, were in a false position.
“You see the quality we have in the team, we don’t belong at the bottom,” he told Sky Sports. “No disrespect to the other teams — we don’t belong there, but football is on the pitch, it is not by talking.”