Liverpool left Goodison Park with a sense of injustice after a 94th minute Luis Suarez ‘winner’ was ruled out for offside, having blown a 2-0 lead as Everton hit back to draw the 219th Merseyside derby.
Replays showed the goal should have stood and Suarez was clearly onside when he flicked the ball past Tim Howard at the Gwladys Street end but the linesman’s flag denied him what would have been a decisive goal.
The home side had to come from two goals behind firstly after Leighton Baines deflected a powerful strike from Suarez past Tim Howard for a 14th minute own goal. Suarez, who had earlier in the week been criticised by Everton manager David Moyes for diving, celebrated by racing to the Everton bench and theatrically falling at Moyes’ feet.
Everton skipper Phil Neville further embarrassed his manager by being booked for a blatant dive later in the game.
Liverpool were in the ascendancy after the opener and quickly doubled their advantage on the 20 minute mark when Suarez made the most of some woeful Everton defending to head home Steven Gerrard’s free kick.
Everton fought back hard using an inspired Kevin Mirallas as a catalyst for their recovery and they were rewarded almost immediately. Leon Osman chested down Liverpool keeper Brad Jones’ punch from a Mirallas corner and fired home his first derby goal at the 18th time of asking.
The Toffees drew level and on 35 minutes when the Belgian duo of Marouane Fellaini and Mirallas combined to set up Steven Naismith for his first Everton goal.
The game settled down in the second half but there were chances to win the game on both sides before the late controversial late strike by Suarez.
Everton manager David Moyes admitted Everton were fortunate to escape with a point but also thought the foul in the build up to the goal was also wrong. He said: “It was a goal [by Suarez] although I have to say I didn’t think it was a foul on Gerrard in the middle of the pitch, that was a wrong decision, but it was also a wrong decision not to give the goal.”
The decision to disallow the goal also left Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard fuming after the final whistle. He said: “We should be taking away the three points rather than just one. There is no offside and it’s difficult for me to explain it. The only person who can explain it is the linesman.
“I asked him after the game if it was offside and he said ‘I think so’. That’s not good enough. If every decision in this league is based on ‘we think so’ then we’re in trouble.”
The result leaves Liverpool in 11th place, still nine points behind the Blues, who are in 5th place after failing to better Tottenham’s result, who won away 2-1 at newly promoted Southampton.