Virgil Van Dijk’s season was ended at Goodison Park after being fouled by Jordan Pickford in the first half. Pickford escaped without punishment, but referee Michael Oliver has now admitted that he made a mistake.
Michael Oliver received criticism for his lack of action after Van Dijk picked up a knee injury during the derby. He awarded a free-kick to Everton for an offside call but failed to punish the Everton goalkeeper for the tackle that left the Dutch centre-back with damaged anterior cruciate ligaments.
Oliver refused to award a penalty to Liverpool on the basis that Van Dijk was offside when the cross was played, but fans were left perplexed as to why no further punishment was issued to Pickford for dangerous play.
Michael Oliver and the Video Assistant Referee, David Coote, dismissed Liverpool’s claims that Pickford should have seen red, but Oliver has since changed his stance on the matter.
He 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.”