"Por fin llegó el día" was the message Luis Suárez had posted on his Twitter account. "Finally the day came," it translated. This was his first game back since the nine-match suspension that threatened to blow a gaping hole in Liverpool's season and, almost immediately, he was reacquainted with yet more of the controversy he finds so hard to shake off.
Suárez had been on the pitch only three minutes when he swung out his right boot in the penalty area, did not get close to the ball and caught Scott Parker flush in the abdomen. The referee, Michael Oliver, brought out a yellow card but this is the generation of Twitter and Wayne Rooney was already typing in his disdain. "If ref sees that kick from Suárez and books him for it, it should be red," the Manchester United player said.
It was a painful blow for Parker, though there was a legitimate case that it was more to do with overeagerness than genuine malice and Rooney's thoughts would probably have been better kept to himself in light of Liverpool's visit to Old Trafford on Saturday. The Football Association has asked both clubs not to inflame tensions given that this will be Suárez's first encounter with Patrice Evra since being found guilty of racial insults and banned for eight matches to go with the one he had to serve for raising his middle finger at the Fulham crowd.
Liverpool, naturally, defended the Uruguayan. "He didn't see Parker," Dalglish argued, and there was a rolling-the-eyes kind of smirk when informed that the original accusation from Rooney had been endorsed by Gary Neville, formerly of United, now of Sky. "Maybe you should tweet Rooney back," he said. "It's fantastic to have Luis back and he should never have been out in the first place. He knows he's admired and loved here. We don't think he should have been away."
The controversies come hand in hand with Suárez but the overwhelming sense was that Liverpool were simply glad to have him back even if his introduction, after 66 minutes, could not conjure up a winner in a game that flickered without truly igniting and left Dalglish, once again, reflecting on their habit of being less than clinical in front of goal.
It has been the story of their season, particularly at Anfield, with 14 goals from 12 games. Six of them came in two matches and the statistics show their 9% goal-per-chance ratio is the worst in the league. To give them their due, they have now kept more clean sheets than any other team, but the lack of goals is perplexing. "We're three-quarters of the way there," Dalglish said.
Suárez, afforded a standing ovation, was lively and will reflect on a great chance to head a dramatic late winner. Andy Carroll continued his recent improvement but will also think back to a couple of wasted chances and, for all Liverpool's pressure, the best opportunity fell to Gareth Bale when he sprinted clear five minutes from the end. Bale has played with such self-belief this season it was surprising he did not take his shot with more confidence and Pepe Reina saved with his legs.
Tottenham's lack of adventure was disappointing otherwise on a night when Harry Redknapp's planned journey from Southwark crown court never got past London City airport because of a technical problem with his plane.
This was the first match Redknapp has missed as a consequence of his trial and, though too much can be read into it, in his absence his team seldom displayed the kind of exhilarating football that has taken them to third in the league.
Bale was strangely peripheral on a night when he was booked for a blatant dive and possibly fortunate not to be hurt more seriously in Martin Skrtel's later studs-up challenge. Emmanuel Adebayor was even more on the edges and their more incisive moves were generally started by Kyle Walker's surging runs from defence.
The problem for Liverpool was they lacked the ingenuity to get behind a Spurs defence in which Michael Dawson was superb. Dawson's saving tackle on Carroll, after the striker had been released by Steven Gerrard's beautifully weighted through-ball, was the outstanding moment of the night.
That was inside the first five minutes but there was little else in the first half from either team. Spurs started to take better care of the ball after the break but the home side began to wear them down again. Gerrard was excellent in front of Fabio Capello, demonstrating why he will almost certainly be named as the new England captain, but Spurs defended with resilience and purpose and Parker started to match Gerrard as the game went on.