Pickford escapes punishment after horror Van Dijk tackle
Premier League – Everton v Liverpool – Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain – October 17, 2020 Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk collides with Everton’s Jordan Pickford [REUTERS/Peter Byrne]

The Football Association have announced that Jordan Pickford will face no retrospective action for his horror challenge on Virgil van Dijk.

Liverpool face the prospect of being without Van Dijk for several months after it was confirmed their key defender requires knee surgery – but they are reluctant to rule him out for the season.

The 29-year-old sustained the injury in a controversial high challenge by Pickford in Saturday’s 2-2 Merseyside derby draw.

Everton goalkeeper Pickford escaped punishment at the time due to VAR official David Coote overlooking the tackle after ruling on the Holland captain’s offside in the build-up.

Pickford came rushing out to put Van Dijk under pressure at the back post but his reckless tackle caught the Dutchman, who now faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

And it has now been confirmed that Pickford will not be punished as the incident was spotted by Premier League referee Michael Oliver and Coote at the time.

The incident was seen by the VAR official and it was decided it was not a red card; and the FA will not overturn that decision.

Pickford has come under fire for his horror challenge, with Graeme Souness slamming it as an “assault”.

Pickford escapes punishment after horror Van Dijk tackle
Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk receives medical attention after sustaining an injury before being substituted [REUTERS/Catherine Ivill]

Speaking on Sky Sports, Souness said: “Any professional or semi-professional who has played the game, maybe the guys on Hackney Marshes, when they look at that, their focus isn’t on the offside, it’s on the player. It’s outrageous. For me, it’s: wow.

“These people who make these decisions who look at that and talk about offside, I just don’t get it.

“I’ve been to Stockley Park, it’s nigh on impossible to make a mistake. And they still get it wrong. That was an assault, not a tackle an assault.”

But despite Souness’ outburst, Carragher was reluctant to criticise England keeper Pickford.

He said: “There’ll be a lot of frustrations from Liverpool wanting Pickford to be banned.

“I am going to defend Pickford on that. I’ve had my leg broken, I nearly broke Nani’s leg. These things happen unfortunately in football.

“I don’t believe anyone goes out to deliberately hurt someone. Jordan Pickford is all over the place with his game at the moment. 

“He comes out and makes a crazy decision like he’s being doing the last 12 months and very unfortunately he’s left one of the top players in the Premier League in a bad way. 

“I really believe Pickford will not be in a good place himself tonight and I hope he isn’t in some ways.”

 

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