Michael Oliver admits mistake over Jordan Pickford tackle on Virgil Van Dijk

Michael Oliver admits mistake over Jordan Pickford tackle on Virgil Van Dijk. He required knee surgery after Everton goalkeeper’s challenge.

Premier League referee Michael Oliver has admitted he made a mistake by not sending off Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford for a challenge that led to a serious knee injury for Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk.

Oliver came in for criticism after Pickford’s challenge in the Merseyside derby on October 17 left Van Dijk needing surgery on damaged anterior cruciate ligaments, from which he is now recovering.

Although Pickford’s challenge took place in the Everton penalty area, a spot-kick was not awarded because a Video Assistant Referee review showed Van Dijk to have been offside, but Oliver could have still dismissed the England goalkeeper for serious foul play or violent conduct.

Oliver told the Daily Mail: “The thought initially was, ‘it can’t be a penalty because it’s offside so we need to check the offside first’. I think I said to the VAR, ‘if it’s not offside, I’m going to give a penalty’. I have watched it back so many times. I genuinely don’t think Pickford has done anything apart from try to spread himself but he did it the wrong way, as the injury has shown.

“We have all, myself included, not thought about the challenge as much as should have done. We could still have given offside and sent Pickford off. What I was surprised about looking at it afterwards was that nothing was expected on-field in terms of a red card. None of the players were asking for that.

“We got sucked too much into going step by step as opposed to thinking of the bigger process, which was considering the challenge as well and not just the fact it can’t be a penalty. We should have restarted with the offside, as we did, but with a different punishment for Jordan Pickford.”

Credit: Sky Sports

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