Jordan Pickford to face no punishment for season-ending challenge on Van Dijk

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Everton‘s Jordan Pickford will face no punishment or suspension for his outrageously poor challenge which has left Virgil van Dijk facing a season-ending injury.

A clear case of a red card challenge was bizarrely overlooked by referee, assistants and video assistant ref during the match.

There were, at the time, conflicting reports of whether or not the actual challenge had been re-watched by VAR, given the fact a penalty or not hinged on whether there was an offside.

As there was, it couldn’t have been a spot-kick – but the tackle remained well outside the realms of acceptable and the goalkeeper should have been dismissed.

Everton‘s overly aggressive approach did result in them ending the game with 10 men, as Richarlison was red-carded for a late lunge on Thiago Alcantara, but Pickford remained on the pitch to make several important saves after the 11th-minute injury to Van Dijk.

Now, the Athletic report he’ll continue to be available for our Mersey rivals, with no post-match suspension forthcoming, while the Dutch defender watches on from the sidelines for the entirety of 2020/21, more than likely.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 17, 2020: Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk is fouled by Everton's goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 237th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The report clarifies that the challenge was looked at by VAR, yet they came to the quite incredible conclusion that it didn’t warrant further action. The report states:

The FA’s policy is to issue retrospective punishment only for red-card offences that are not seen by match officials at the time, including the VAR.

Liverpool were not awarded a penalty for Pickford’s tackle on Van Dijk because the Dutch defender was adjudged to be in an offside position…VAR reviewed the incident but did not deem it worthy of a red card.

It’s a mind-bendingly damning indictment of the levels of incompetence shown by the VAR official, in this case David Coote.

While not looking at the challenge would have been bad enough, to do so and still not see it as dismissal-worthy is surely worse and points to a lack of real knowledge of the game as well as application of the rules.

Van Dijk has signalled his intent to regain fitness as soon as possible, while the Reds have asked the authorities to explain the use and decisions of VAR from the derby after a series of inexplicable outcomes.

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