Everton 0-2 Martin Atkinson’s Liverpool

Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez and referee Martin Atkinson condemn ten-man Everton to a 2-0 defeat in the 216th Merseyside derby.

It´s difficult to provide an account on this one – just how do you conjure an expletive apt enough to describe Martin Atkinson´s performance?

The referees decision to send off Jack Rodwell for a perfectly legitimate challenge on Luis Suarez on 23-minutes provided the talking, and turning point from the match.

A man down with 68 minutes to play in the sweltering sunshine, Everton were left with a colossal task and Liverpool eventually made their numerical superiority count as Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez handed them a 2-0 victory at Goodison Park.

A typically full-blooded start took nine minutes to produce the game´s first opening, but when it arrived Suarez really should have buried Kuyt´s cross from five yards. Everton´s response was immediate and again it came via the aerial route, this time Tim Cahill forcing a fingertip save from Pepe Reina.

The game appeared to be shaping into a good contest but, on 23 minutes, referee Martin Atkinson intervened to put Everton at a significant disadvantage. Rodwell, keeping a close rein on Suarez, put a challenge on the Uruguayan, winning the ball whilst keeping his studs directed towards the turf. Atkinson deemed the challenge to be dangerous, and he brandished a red card to the pure amazement of nearly everybody inside the ground.

Atkinson was involved in another major decision on the stroke of the interval but this time there was no disputing his call after Phil Jagielka clumsily tripped Suarez to concede a penalty. Kuyt, who once scored two spot-kicks in the same game at Goodison Park, stepped up but saw his low effort brilliantly turned around the frame of the goal by Howard.

Still there was time for more drama in a non-stop first half, with Charlie Adam sending an arrow of a 20-yard drive against the underside of Howard´s bar as the scores, somehow, stayed level before the break.

Moyes managed to encourage a more cohesive second-half display from his players, with Saha threatening from range, but the majority of chances still fell to Liverpool, most notably when Saha acrobatically cleared Carroll´s effort off the line. Dalglish turned to his bench for Gerrard and Craig Bellamy, and it was the Welshman who played a part in the breakthrough goal.

Drawing the right-back, Bellamy fed the overlapping Jose Enrique, who crossed low from the byline, finding Carroll who volleyed home from 10 yards. Suarez then made the game safe eight minutes from time, calmly sliding the ball past Howard after a mix-up between Leighton Baines and Sylvain Distin.

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