Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford should have been sent off for his “awful challenge” on Virgil van Dijk which left the Liverpool defender facing eight months out with a potential ACL injury. That’s the opinion of Alan Shearer, who tore into the decision on Match of the Day.
Pickford escaped punishment for his tackle on Van Dijk on Saturday, leaving Liverpool fans and boss Jurgen Klopp raging.
The goalkeeper rushed out of his goal to attempt to block Van Dijk’s shot close up after the defender waited at the back post for a cross from Fabinho.
Pickford misjudged his tackle, however, and lunged in with his left foot off the ground – colliding with the Dutchman just above his knee.
The defender was immediately taken off and sent for scans on his knee, with initial reports suggesting he could have suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
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Despite the severity of the injury and the poor nature of the tackle, Pickford wasn’t punished at all by referee Michael Oliver.
The referee did blow his whistle, judging that Van Dijk was stood in an offside position at the time the ball was played.
VAR checked whether the challenge by Pickford warranted any action, and determined it wasn’t worthy of a red card.
Oliver wasn’t asked to check the incident on the touchline monitors, instead the decision was taken by the VAR official in charge – David Coote.
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And speaking to Match of the Day, Shearer was heavily critical of the decision, claiming Oliver should have been told to check due to it being clear and obvious.
He also criticised the initial tackle by Pickford, saying it clearly endangered the opponent.
Shearer said: “It was an awful challenge, a real terrible tackle.
“The first mistake comes from Michael Oliver for not spotting it anyway.
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“They gave offside, the VAR referee is concentrating on the offside, but once that has been given, how has David Coote not recommended to Michael Oliver that he goes and looks at it?
“That’s what VAR was meant to be brought in for – for clear and obvious errors.
“Michael Oliver has had one there, it’s serious foul play, it’s endangering the opponent, and it’s clear it’s a red card.
“It should be a red card, and VAR should send Michael Oliver to the monitor and say ‘I think you’ve made a clear error, send him off’.”
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