On October 17, Jordan Pickford ended Virgil van Dijk’s time in Merseyside Derby very early in the match after sliding into the 29-year-old Netherlands international. After the match which ended 2-2, it was announced that the reigning world best defender was diagnosed with a damaged knee ligament and he has to be operated upon.
After a series of jabs targeted at the goalkeeper, the manager of Everton, Carlos Ancelotti came out to apologize on behalf of the club and insisted that the goalkeeper did not commit the challenge intentionally. He added that the goalkeeper was focus enough to mount the post against Southampton despite all the jabs he has been getting.
What annoyed most of those criticizing Pickford for the tackle was the fact that the goalkeeper was not booked for the challenge because Virgil van Dijk was already spotted offside.
Wow! I just heard Van Dijk will get a surgery because of this horrific tackle by Jordan Pickford! It was supposed to be a penalty for Liverpool, but Van Dijk was offside. Wish you a quick recovery Van Dijk! pic.twitter.com/OyoIbz58O5— IbrahimMahmoudOfficial (@IMOfficial2020) October 19, 2020
Hence, Ralph Hasenhuttl argued that even though the defender was spotted offside, the goalkeeper should have been penalized for the harsh tackle.
“I think yes (Pickford should have been sent off). I also discussed this. It was a horrible tackle, to be honest”, Ralph Hasenhuttl said ahead of his team’s meeting with the goalkeeper on Sunday.
“We have more often the situation now that the game goes on, although it is offside, and then some duels happen that don’t have to happen normally, this is an issue.
“But we are also happy about having the VAR because now you see, in the Europa League, there is no VAR, how many discussions there are around decisions from the referee.
“But sure, you cannot go like this into a duel. This is an absolutely disastrous tackle, to be honest.
“I think sure it can be a red card in the end. When you only see the tackle, (it) was horrible yes.”
Before now, the English FA has insisted that Pickford would not be fine nor penalized for the harsh tackle since he wasn’t punished during the match. Hence, he remained available for Southampton vs Everton match on Sunday.
On the other hand, the coach of Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp has not been able to confirm how long he and his team will be without their best defender as they continue to forge ahead to defend their Premier League title.