Ederson Defends Jordan Pickford for Horror Challenge on Virgil van Dijk

Max Parsons
Ederson has defended Pickford
Ederson has defended Pickford / James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson has defended Jordan Pickford following goalkeeper's horror challenge on Virgil van Dijk in a recent Merseyside derby.

The Brazilian keeper has used his own experiences to make clear that there was no malicious intent involved in Pickford's late challenge Van Dijk, which has seen the defender be ruled out for potentially the rest of the season.

Ederson has compared the challenge from the Merseyside derby in October to the challenge he received from Liverpool winger Sadio Mane in 2017, in which he was left needing oxygen and eight stitches.

Medicla staff surround the injured Ederson in Manchester City's game against Liverpool in  2017
Medicla staff surround the injured Ederson in Manchester City's game against Liverpool in 2017 / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

The Manchester City goalkeeper insisted that he does not believe Mane intended to injure him on that day, just as he affirms Pickford did not deliberately injury Van Dijk. Ederson said, as quoted by Mirror: "I don't think it was Pickford's intention to injure Van Dijk and in the same way I don't think it was Mane's intention to do that when he clashed with me in our game a few years ago."

Mane received a straight red for his challenge which narrowly missed Ederson's eye, in a 5-0 rout by Manchester City. However, last month Pickford received no punishment during the game, or indeed subsequently, for the tackle that left Van Dijk requiring knee ligament surgery.

The Brazilian international went on to defend both challenges: "You have such a short time to make a decision and it could happen to any of us."

Ederson spoke about the injury on Van Dijk before Premier League heavyweights Manchester City and Liverpool meet on Sunday, in another chapter of the intriguing battle between Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.

Manchester City fans will be boosted by the absence of Van Dijk and Fabinho, but Ederson insists Liverpool's current injury list has not cast any illusions over Guardiola's men: "Their absences aren't going to be a big disadvantage for them or a big advantage for us. We don't focus on the players that aren't going to play, or a specific absence, we focus on Liverpool as a whole team."