23/11/2013 09:58 GMT | Updated 23/11/2013 10:35 GMT

Everton 3-3 Liverpool: Merseyside Derby Serves Up A Classic (PICTURES)

Alex Livesey via Getty Images
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23: Romelu Lukaku of Everton celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on November 23, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

A fixture synonymous with grit over guile and steel rather than silk over the years served up a frenetic Premier League classic at Saturday lunchtime.

Twety-nine shots at goal, six goals, six bookings and 31 fouls contributed to the best match of the season so far, as Liverpool snatched victory from Everton's grasp.

The consensus before kick-off was that the teams' coaches guaranteed a beautiful, rather than a brutal, affair. Roberto Martínez has transformed Everton's playing style and Brendan Rodgers' on-the-deck insistence has led Liverpool to the heady heights of the Champions League places again.

A year ago, it was pretty good, though. There were four first-half goals, an outrageous dive from Phil Neville, a despicable foul from Luis Suárez and a wrongly disallowed goal for the Uruguayan at the death. Saturday's clash was more vibrant, frenetic and heart-pounding, though.

Three goals were sieved after just 19 minutes. Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring thanks to some dithering defending at Everton's far post. Kevin Mirallas equalised three minutes later, but Goodison Park was silenced by the lethal Suárez, whose free-kick beat a flimsy Evertonian wall.

Photo gallery Everton 3-3 Liverpool See Gallery

It was not a game entirely devoid of aggression. Kevin Mirallas was fortunate not to receive a red card when he left his autograph on Luis Suárez's leg. Call it sympathy for the devil, but it was warranted. Liverpool fans might be keen to pinpoint this incident, although they have benefitted from some blinkered refereeing in this fixture before. Steven Gerrard on Gary Naysmith, Dirk Kuyt on Neville and the aforementioned Suárez's stamp on Sylvain Distin merited just yellow cards at worst.

Joe Allen might have killed the fun had he not hit his glorious chance wide of Tim Howard's left-hand post on the hour mark. Suárez tricked his way through to assist the Welshman, who could have squared it to his teammate, yet he missed the target completely with Howard on his backside pleading for mercy.

Everton were the better side after the pause, despite Leighton Baines' withdrawal through injury. Simon Mignolet made nine saves in this match - some excellent and some routine - yet his luck ran out when Romelu Lukaku beat him at the fourth time of asking on 72 minutes following some scrambled play.

Lukaku beat his compatriot again 10 minutes later when he capitalised on Glen Johnson's abysmal defending to head in Mirallas' corner.

Close to a first derby win since October 2010, the Blues were denied by substitute Daniel Sturridge, who flicked on Steven Gerrard's set-piece a minute shy of the 90. His celebration was the worst thing in this otherwise mesmeric match.

Both sides had chances to win in stoppage-time. Suárez unleashed a volley which elicited an alert stop from Tim Howard, Sturridge was denied a winner by the linesman's flag, the busy Mignolet thwarted the nomadic Gerard Deulofeu and James McCarthy had a shot blocked with the final effort at goal. It was as breathless as it sounds.