LIVERPOOL’S failure to beat Aston Villa at Anfield has given Everton the chance to leapfrog them into fourth place at West Brom tomorrow. Dare I say it, but for another dubious penalty box incident involving Luis Suarez, Everton’s prospects would be even brighter. Liverpool salvaged a point when Steven Gerrard drove home a penalty, awarded after Suarez went down under Villa keeper Guzan’s innocuous challenge. I don’t think I’ve ever known BBC’s Match of the Day conduct a viewers’ Did he Dive? poll. The result was 60 per cent ‘yes.’ Even Stan Collymore, a former Liverpool striker, accused Suarez of being a cheat on Talksport, though Alan Shearer, in the TV studio, disagreed. I don’t know how often I’m going to have to say this, but for a man blessed with such sublime balance, I’m surprised that Suarez appears to be vulnerable to a proverbial puff of wind.
The fact is, Liverpool’s dropping of two home points gives Everton a great opportunity to reclaim the coveted fourth place. I don’t think Ross Barkley will be fit, but the Blues have plenty of quality midfielders. The question remains, will manager Roberto Martinez strengthen his striking department in this transfer window? I hope so, for if Romanu Lukaku – who tomorrow faces the team for whom he top scored last season – gets injured, it will be a big problem. Everton have banked £35 million from the sales of Marouane Fellaini and Nikita Jelavic so they do have cash available.