Arguably the best Merseyside derby for years, the clash between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park today had everything.
A beautifully poised game in which the pendulum swung from the red side to the blue and back, end to end football, a brilliant portfolio of goals, including a sumptuous free kick from the irresistibly brilliant Luis Suarez and a Duncan Ferguson tribute of a thundering header from Romelu Lukaku.
There were defensive mistakes, brilliant performances from two English players at the opposite ends of their career spectrum in the form of the venerable Steven Gerrard for Liverpool and the precocious Ross Barkley for Everton.
Pulsating is an understatement to describe it. It simply throbbed with drama.
Great as the game was, though, there was one markedly sour note - Kevin Mirallas’ tackle on Suarez was disgraceful. It was a potential career ender.
Coming off the back of Sebastian Larsson’s equally despicable challenge on Javi Garcia in Manchester City’s clash against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light a fortnight ago, it shows a need to remove such tackling and the ‘he is not that sort of player’ explanations that oftengo with it.
What a travesty it will be if a player of the brilliance of a Suarez has his career cut short by such a tackle.
While we all love and admire the terrific entertainment of the English Premier League with the break neck pace, magnificent goals and thunderous tackles, it is about time a line was drawn with respect to reckless tackles.
There is nothing more galling than a player’s career being snatched away from him by such brainless rashness, no matter how 'honest and unintended' that imbecilic act is.
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