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Pickford escapes punishment for Van Dijk challenge in Merseyside derby

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford will face no retrospective punishment for his challenge on Virgil van Dijk in Saturday’s Merseyside derby that has left the Dutchman requiring surgery on a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament.

Pickford lunged at Van Dijk as the ball fell to the Liverpool defender in the penalty box, clattering into him high, forcefully and nowhere near the ball.

Van Dijk was offside so no penalty was given, but no further action was taken against Pickford on the pitch either.

As the incident was reviewed by VAR at the time and was deemed not to be a red card, then Pickford will face no further punishment retrospectively.

The FA will not take retrospective action on incidents that are seen by the on-field referee and/or by the VAR at Stockley Park. It has been deemed that either on-field referee Michael Oliver and and/or VAR David Coote did see the incident and didn’t deem it a red card.

VAR had looked at whether Van Dijk was offside and marginally gave the decision in Everton’s favour before deciding that nothing needed to be done about the ridiculous lunge from Pickford.

The FA does have power to intervene even if a decision is seen, but that is only used extremely rarely, and has not been invoked here.

The Dutch defender was substituted as a result of the tackle and a scan has revealed a tear in his ACL that will keep him out for at least five months.

A statement from the club on Sunday read: ‘Liverpool FC can confirm Virgil van Dijk will undergo surgery on the knee injury he sustained during Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Everton.

‘The centre-back damaged knee ligaments following an incident involving Blues goalkeeper Jordan Pickford after six minutes at Goodison Park.

‘Van Dijk was required to be substituted and further assessment on the injury has revealed an operation will be needed.

‘No specific timescale is being placed upon his return to action at this stage.

‘Following surgery, Van Dijk will begin a rehabilitation programme with the club’s medical team to enable him to reach full fitness as soon as possible.’

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