Everton fought back from two goals down to hold Liverpool to a 2-2 draw in an entertaining Merseyside derby in the Premier League on Sunday.
Luis Suarez scored twice in the first 20 minutes at Goodison Park, with the first strike diverted into the goal by Everton defender Leighton Baines, but Leon Osman began Everton’s comeback in the 22nd minute and Steven Naismith equalized in the 35th.
Suarez was denied a winner in stoppage-time when his goal was ruled out by the referee’s assistant for offside or a foul in the penalty area.
The point was enough to keep Everton in fourth, six points ahead of Liverpool.
“I think when we were 2-0 down we’d have took a draw, but we got back into the game so quickly and we felt we had the momentum,” Everton captain Phil Neville said. “We maybe should have passed it a little bit better, took that extra touch. I think we needed control of the game in the wide areas. These games are fast and furious, and you go home later and you analyze whether it was an offside goal. We also had chances to score, so maybe both teams are happy with a draw in the end.”
Suarez opened the scoring in the 14th minute.
Steven Gerrard’s pass sent Jose Enrique racing down the left and, although his cross flashed through the six-yard area, it was collected by the Uruguay international striker, whose drilled cross-shot return was deflected in by Baines.
His reaction was to race to the dug-out and dive full-length in front of Everton manager David Moyes, who made headlines on Saturday with comments about players going to ground too easily.
Six minutes later, Osman’s slight trip on Raheem Sterling presented Gerrard with the chance to curl in a free-kick and Suarez’s deft header helped the ball past goalkeeper Tim Howard and into the far corner of the net.
For a team whose problems scoring were well documented, things seemed to be going better than expected for Brendan Rodgers’ Reds, but Everton produced an instant response.
When Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones, still deputizing for the recovering Jose Reina, who was on the bench, could only punch a corner to the edge of the area, Osman controlled and volleyed home.
The game, surprisingly, became even more open, with Suarez shooting just wide, before Marouane Fellaini, back from injury after two matches out, ran the ball out of play as he bore down on goal when teed up by Everton striker Nikica Jelavic.
The equalizer came when Fellaini’s cross was left by Martin Skrtel and Naismith nipped in front of Enrique to score from close range.
“It’s been a year since my last goal,” the Scot said. “I’m glad just to start and to get a goal was nice as well.”
Everton poured forward, with Kevin Mirallas, marauding down the left, having one shot turned away by Jones and another blocked by Skrtel.
After such a rousing 45 minutes, the second half failed to live up to expectations.
Fewer chances were created, although Sterling clipped an excellent chance wide having been put through by Enrique, while Jelavic, surprisingly quiet in such an open game, just failed to connect in the six-yard box before heading wide.
Suarez, never far from the action, was fortunate to escape with a yellow card after standing on Sylvain Distin’s Achilles after the ball had gone.
Gerrard had a shot blocked by Phil Jagielka, before Suarez was denied — incorrectly it seemed — a stoppage-time winner by the assistant’s flag.
In Sunday’s other matches, Tottenham Hotspur returned to fourth place with a 2-1 victory at Southampton, while Newcastle United beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1.
At St Mary’s, Gareth Bale set Tottenham on their way to victory against his former club by heading home from Tom Huddlestone’s pass in the 15th minute. Clint Dempsey doubled Tottenham’s lead before the break from close range.
Jay Rodriguez pulled one back in the second half, but Tottenham held on to leave Southampton next-from-last in the standings.
At St James’ Park, Newcastle’s winner came in the third minute of stoppage-time, with Sammy Ameobi’s shot taking a heavy deflection off Papiss Cisse.
Demba Ba put Newcastle in front before halftime, but Romelu Lukaku headed West Brom level 10 minutes after the break.