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Reeling Rodgers is 'bitterly disappointed' after Suarez 'winner' ruled out

Liverpool left with a point and a crate of evidence to support Brendan Rodgers' swelling persecution complex at the hands of match officials.

Luis Suarez as the modern reincarnation of Little Lord Fauntleroy may take a while to pull off, but Rodgers felt aggrieved that a linesman's flag wrongly denied his striker the status of Merseyside derby hero.

He was adamant it was a case of the sinner being sinned against, the disallowed 'winner' in the fourth minute of injury time grist to the mill following a series of unfavourable decisions.

"I'm not going to keep on about officials because it has been happening to us all season. But that one was quite straightforward," said Rodgers.

"It was a free-kick from deep and the ball was in the air for a long time and you could clearly see he was onside. When he put it in he was marginally level. It was a terrific finish and he could have had a hat-trick.

"He was not at all motivated by any comments before the game. He is motivated every day of his life.

"I was bitterly disappointed at not getting the winner. It was a brilliant game and I thought we stood up well.



Cauldron

"So, instead of being a brilliant win for us, we are left feeling frustrated. At the same time I am very proud because of the way my young team performed in a real cauldron."

There was a certain irony that a booking for diving was given to an Everton player. "Do you want me to talk about Phil Neville? Don't start me," Rodgers tersely observed.

A captivating encounter was granted a suitably contentious final act. Quite where Suarez was heading after nudging Sebastian Coates's header beyond Tim Howard is now, sadly, a matter for conjecture.

After his role in Liverpool's first, most likely to go down as a Leighton Baines own-goal, Suarez ran towards David Moyes and dived at his feet, evidently unimpressed by the Everton manager's assessment of his reputation. "It's called Scouse wit," said Rodgers when asked about the striker's evidently premeditated response.

Moyes stated before kick-off he finds it hard to sleep after a derby, and he would have endured another restless night had the goal stood.

The passing of an opportunity to confirm the merit of suggestions he now possesses a superior line-up may still cause some disturbance.

This was unfamiliar territory for the hosts. They are no longer perceived as punching above their weight, expected rather than simply willed to win such fixtures. Their inability to do so owed everything to a dire start and a failure to re-assert themselves after their enforced half-time substitution and Liverpool's shift in formation.



Frantic

Everton ended a frantic first half level and in command but they were permanently undermined by the premature departure of Kevin Mirallas who, until then, was defining events.

Despite their early two-goal lead, Liverpool's line-up was fragile.

Although Raheem Sterling adapted swiftly to the intensity of the occasion, Suso and Nuri Sahin were dynamic in possession but a liability without it. Sahin had assisted Suarez with the opening goal on 14 minutes, prior to the Uruguayan glancing his header from Gerrard's free-kick for the second. Leon Osman benefited from a tame punch to cut the deficit and Steven Naismith equalised10 minutes before half-time.

Mirallas constantly attacked teenager Andre Wisdom until the Belgian's ankle gave way just before half-time.

Liverpool responded tactically, introducing Sebastian Coates and abandoning the 4-3-3 Rodgers usually defends with a religious zeal, and it worked. It was as if the Liverpool manager began the derby clinging to his romanticism before realising pragmatism is usually more productive when the cut and thrust begins.

There was more serenity after the break. Anxiety spread in the home ranks in the final stages, Liverpool retaining composure on the ball and benefiting from some reckless challenges.

They thought they had stolen the winner but Suarez left sporting his usual pose, both blessed and cursed.


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