The breakthrough in the 216th Merseyside derby should also herald a defining moment in the Liverpool career of Andy Carroll, a point where Kenny Dalglish's irritation at inquests into his £35m investment and Fabio Capello's concern at the player's lifestyle are replaced by renewed focus on his ability. It should do but it will not.
Capello was not the only observer at Goodison Park whose analysis of the England centre-forward and Liverpool's victory had strings attached by Martin Atkinson. The match official erred so badly in his decision to dismiss Jack Rodwell for a clean challenge on Luis Suárez on 23 minutes that he suspended not only the Everton midfielder but judgment on the Merseyside rivals.
Liverpool were professional and composed in their eventual breaking of 10 tired men on a sweltering October afternoon, Carroll and Suárez marked their debuts in the fixture decisively and the introduction of Steven Gerrard plus the influential Craig Bellamy underlined Dalglish's claims of strength in depth perfectly. Beyond that, however the bragging rights could not carry their customary weight.
Carroll was largely subdued by an Everton unit forced on to the defensive following Rodwell's enraged exit yet never lost his purpose or work ethic, only his marker, Leighton Baines, when sweeping in José Enrique's cross to open the scoring from close range.
The 22-year-old's first league goal of the season, and its timing in particular, may enhance the leaner-looking forward's rapport with the Kop and release some pressure but the process of justifying his manager's steadfast faith has barely begun.
Carroll said: "I had been speaking with José and I told him that I fancied getting my first of the season here. Before the game I thought 'This is the day'. This is by far the highlight of my time here, easily. Scoring against Everton and beating them at their place is special but I have got to keep it going.
"The goal is for everyone really, Kenny, the other lads and the fans; everyone who has stood by me. It is a great feeling but it doesn't really matter who scores as long we get the three points and I thought it was great we did it here. We've got Man United next game and I've got to make sure that I keep doing well week in and week out. We are a new team and we are still gelling together. That's what we have got to do, stick to the performance that we have produced here and I am sure we will be up there."
Liverpool's two away wins have arrived in identical circumstances in the Premier League, two late goals against opponents reduced to 10 men, and it will need not only the team to gel but the likes of Carroll, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam to show more urgency and command for the striker's confidence to be vindicated at the end of the season.
For 22 minutes the derby was finely poised. Suárez had sent a weak header straight to Tim Howard and Tim Cahill had forced an exquisite save from Pepe Reina as the game opened up early and ferociously but without its occasional malevolence in the tackle.
Rodwell's challenge, or rather Atkinson's interpretation of it, changed everything. Suárez appeared to feign injury and Lucas reacted with outrage to a foul that never occurred but they had no influence on the referee's decision. The red card was out instantly.
David Moyes was beyond anger as he digested defeat afterwards. The Everton manager challenged the Football Association and Atkinson to rescind Rodwell's three‑match ban without the need of an appeal from Goodison, although the chief executive, Robert Elstone, told the club's website on Sunday: "Following a review of the video evidence we believe the decision to be wrong and we will be contacting the FA requesting that the red card is rescinded."
The only involuntary contact from the FA to Everton will be over the disgraceful scenes in the game's finale when, with Suárez having seized on Sylvain Distin's poor clearance to settle the game with a cool finish, the Uruguay international and Bellamy were pelted with objects thrown from the Gwladys Street end.
"You don't get these things overturned," Moyes said. "The FA very much keep together with the PGMO [Professional Game Match Officials] and you find it very difficult to get them overturned. And really what if it was? The disappointing thing is we wanted to have a go and win the derby. I'm not thinking just now about an appeal because I'd expect the people in power to stand up and say 'We got it wrong'. We don't need to say anything about it. Good people admit their mistakes, they hold their hands up and accept it."
Atkinson correctly awarded a penalty to Liverpool when Phil Jagielka caught Suárez moments before half-time and had visited both clubs last week to conduct their referee's appraisal. Howard, who saved Dirk Kuyt's spot-kick superbly, said: "There were a few things he said he would clamp down on when he came to visit us at the training ground, none of which he did today. I don't know what the deal was bringing the referee for the Merseyside derby to the clubs just three days before a game. It made everyone a bit uneasy and I'm sure Liverpool would have been uneasy about it as well."