Premier League referee Michael Oliver has indicated that he sent Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford off for his now infamous foul on Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk.
The Reds star suffered an anterior cruciate ligament Injury in a 2-2 draw with Toffees in the Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park in October.
Van Dijk has since stayed on the sidelines and will miss most of the season. The 29-year-old defender sustained the injury while recklessly challenging England international Pickford.
Referee Oliver took no action to punish the goalkeeper after the VAR ruled that there was an offside leading up to the tackle.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Oliver said: “It was a big game, both teams flew in.
“The assistant had given offside and there is a delay in the flag like we had this season. Jordan then comes out to Virgil.
“The thought at the beginning was ‘It can’t be a penalty because it’s offside, so we have to check offside first’. I think I said to the VAR, ‘If it’s not offside, I’ll give a penalty’.
But after re-analyzing the incident and complaining that it was his fault and should have shown the Toffees goalkeeper a red card in the game despite being offside, Oliver admitted that he had been too busy deciding whether a penalty should be due should be awarded rather than judging the ruthlessness of the tackle. In today’s soccer betting on this game, there were lots of interesting odds for the fans before the game ended in a 2-2 draw.
Oliver continued, “I’ve watched it so many times. I really don’t think Pickford did anything other than try to spread, but he got it wrong as the injury showed.
“All of us, including myself, haven’t thought about the challenge as much as we should have. We could still have sidelined and sent Pickford away.
“In retrospect, what surprised me was that there was nothing to be expected on the field with regard to a red card. None of the players asked for that.
“We got too involved in going step by step instead of thinking about the bigger process that also takes into account the challenge and not just the fact that it can’t be a penalty.
“We should have started offside like we did, but with a different penalty for Jordan Pickford.”
Van Dijk wasn’t able to return to gym training until December and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revealed to the public after a 1-0 loss to Southampton on January 4th that Van Dijk still has a long way to go towards a full recovery .
In an interview with the reporters, the German manager said: “It is very good, but there is still a long way to go [the deal with] that kind of injury. I am happy when I see these videos [of Virgil training] because it only shows that he’s making good progress. But it will take a long time, that’s how it is.
“I would like to say something else, but unfortunately these are the facts.”
Liverpool hope to recover from their 1-0 Premier League loss to Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium as they host Manchester United at Anfield. A battle for three points that decides the leader of the table, as both teams are tied with 33 points at the top of the table.