Luis Suarez was at the centre of about everything as Liverpool defeated ten-man competitors Everton 2-0 in an action-packed 216th Merseyside derby.
Luis Suarez was involved in the incident which saw Rodwell dismissed in the 1st half, and then won a penalty - which Dirk Kuyt missed. Suarez even overshadowed Andy Carroll's 1st English Premier League goal of the season. His bang was the breakthrough and set his side on the way to a triumph which Everton had worked so hard for so long to deny their visitors.
Never dull, the headlines for their latest meeting were being written as early as the 23rd minute. Rodwell slid in to challenge Suarez and although seemingly winning the ball with a tackle which didn't appear to be dangerous, referee Atkinson directly brandished a red card.
Prior to that Everton had made the best chances, with Tim Cahill - passed fit after struggling with a shin injury all week - forcing Reina into a fingertip save after rising highest at the far post, and Sylvain Distin blazing a shot just over.
But momentum of play modified in an instant after the dismissal as Cahill, who had been posing a terror to the Liverpool defence in an advanced role behind Saha, was dropped back into a left-sided midfield role.
Everton's high-tempo pushing play was abandoned for a deeper-lying, more measured approach and that played into the visitors' hands as they were able to control possession of the ball.
However, they struggled to make a breakthrough until Jagielka cut down Luis Suarez on the corner of the penalty area just before half-time and Atkinson pointed to the spot. Kuyt, scorer of 5 derby goals, stepped up but Howard saved brilliantly low to his left.
Charlie Adam did beat Howard in added time at the end of the half, but his 25-yard shot cannoned down off the crossbar. Everton kept on to make light of their reduced number after the break, with Saha shooting wide after being teed up by Cahill just inside the area.
But Liverpool were beginning to make more openings and Carroll's header looked to be creeping inside the post from Stewart Downing's corner before Saha hacked away. Another Carroll effort had Howard scrambling to his left to turn around the post while Kuyt deflected Adam's quickly-taken free-kick wide.
Saha rifled a 25-yard shot just wide of Reina's right-hand post before, in the 67th minute, Dalglish sent on Gerrard, making only his 3rd replacement appearance after 6 months out after a groin operation, and Craig Bellamy to win him the game.
But it wasn't the talismanic Liverpool captain who made the difference but his fellow substitute. Just 4 minutes after coming on, the Wales international's run down the left released Jose Enrique and Kuyt smartly ducked under the Spaniard's cross to grant Carroll to power home from 8 yards.
The match was finished up in the 82nd minute when Luis Suarez caught the second. Collecting Kuyt's knockdown he was lucky to have Distin's clearance bounce into his chest but he made the most of it to place a left-footed shot past Howard from 6 yards.