Jack Rodwell was sent off in the Merseyside derby for this

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle

Luis Suarez once again helped manufacture a bit of controversy by making the most of a Jack Rodwell challenge in the 23rd minute of Saturday's Merseyside derby (see it in motion here), which resulted in referee Martin Atkinson showing Rodwell a straight red. After that, Liverpool scored twice -- the second coming from Suarez -- and won 2-0.

Atkinson had a clear view of the challenge, so there was no excuse there. And though Suarez did get his foot slightly caught against Rodwell's sliding leg well after the Everton midfielder made clean contact with the ball. Rodwell didn't lunge at Suarez from the side or from behind. He didn't use excessive force and he even made sure his studs were pointing down as soon as he cleared the ball, so it's hard to say what Atkinson based his decision on other than Suarez's dramatic rolling around after the fact.

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Opinion seems to be unanimous (even among Liverpool supporters) that it was a terrible call. Following the match, Everton manager David Moyes was clear about how the decision impacted the match (via the Guardian):

"It ruined the game," said Moyes. A blunt but accurate appraisal. "There are a lot of questions that people ask about derbies, about tackles, about sending-offs and about players but that wasn't down to a bad tackle by a player. I would have been disappointed if it had been a free-kick and if he had given a yellow card you would have said: 'What is that for?'

Meanwhile, angry Everton fans decided to take out their post-red card frustration on the Liverpool players by throwing coins and other trinkets at them. One guy hit Craig Bellamy in the head with an empty plastic Coke bottle, prompting Bellamy to react like this...

Photo: Reuters

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