Everton star Jordan Pickford was lucky to escape a red card against Liverpool on Saturday afternoon. The England international mistimed a tackle on Virgil van Dijk, who was forced out of the contest as a result. And he wasn’t sent off because the whistle had already blown for offside.
Everton and Liverpool have traded blows already in their Premier League clash at Goodison Park.
Sadio Mane opened the scoring in the third minute, firing home from close range after a fine delivery from Andy Robertson.
But the Toffees equalised through a bullet header from Michael Keane, who rose highest at a corner to nod home.
However, the talking point of the game was Van Dijk’s injury.
The Netherlands international was brutally cut down by Pickford but the England international escaped a red card.
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And that’s because of the rules.
Van Dijk was offside at the time because his lower arm was ahead of the field of play. Last season, that wouldn’t have been the case.
And, because of the Dutchman being in an offside position, that cancels out serious foul play afterwards.
Violent conduct is still punishable under the current rules and regulations but not serious foul play.
Yet while that’s the case, it will be interesting to see what Jurgen Klopp says after the game with the Liverpool boss likely to be furious.
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Fans on Twitter felt Pickford should have been given his marching orders, with one saying: “That is an absolutely horrendous challenge from Pickford. Clearest red card you will see all weekend.”
A second said: “Not sure how an offside enables you to challenge like that. Absolutely awful from Pickford. The clearest red card you’ll ever see.”
A third opined: “That should be a red card from Pickford. Regardless of the offside decision.”
“This is defo a red card if pickford was an arsenal goalkeeper,” a fourth mischievously stated.
“Pickford should’ve seen red, offside or not,” were the words of a fifth.
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And a sixth said: “So Pickford can’t get a yellow or red card for nearly breaking VVD’s leg because it was offside, yet you can get sent off after the full time whistle? What if Pickford had nutted him instead? Ridiculous rule.”
Pickford entered the game under pressure having made a series of mistakes already this season.
And Gary Neville slammed him prior to the contest after England’s Nations League defeat to Denmark, with the former Manchester United star saying: “It’s a mess. I’m not sure what Pickford is doing, why is he there?
“He comes out and smothers his defender when his defender is dealing with it. Not sure it’s a penalty at all, to be honest with you, I can’t see anything.
“The composure was lost by Harry Maguire a few minutes ago and then Pickford just creates panic.”
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