Jordan Pickford Avoids Retrospective Punishment for Virgil van Dijk Challenge

Andrew Headspeath
Jordan Pickford's wild challenge on Virgil van Dijk in the opening minutes of the Merseyside derby
Jordan Pickford's wild challenge on Virgil van Dijk in the opening minutes of the Merseyside derby / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford will not receive retrospective punishment for the challenge which has resulted in Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk requiring surgery.

Pickford lunged wildly at Van Dijk in the early stages of Saturday's Merseyside derby, connecting with the defender's knee.

As the Dutchman had already been ruled offside, there was no penalty awarded for the incident. However, many were left confused as to why Pickford was not sent off for dangerous play regardless.

Liverpool asked for an investigation into the use of VAR following the 2-2 draw, having also been left upset by a marginal offside call late on to deny them the win.

The FA have, however, since concluded that Pickford will not receive any punishment as the incident was assessed in the game by the match officials and VAR team. The governing body maintains a policy to only consider retrospective punishments in the case of incidents not seen by the match officials, either on the pitch or in Stockley Park.

Pickford's challenge on Van Dijk was seen at the time, but it was not acted on by the officials.

It has been confirmed that 2019 PFA Player of the Year Award winner Van Dijk will undergo surgery on his knee from the injury sustained in the derby, posting an update on his situation online.

"[On Sunday] I met with a leading consultant to start the process of planning the finer details of my rehabilitation following the incident [on Saturday]," Van Dijk said in a post on Twitter. "I'm now fully focused on my recovery and will do everything I can to be back as soon as possible.

"Despite the obvious disappointment, I'm a firm believer that within difficulty lies opportunity, and with God's help I'm going to make sure I return better, fitter and stronger than ever before.

"In football, as in life, I think everything happens for a reason and it's important to try and keep level-headed whether going through the highs and lows. With the support of my wife, kids, family and everyone at Liverpool, I'm ready for the challenge ahead.

"I'd like to thank everyone for the messages of support, it's meant a huge amount to me and my family, and I'll now be doing everything possible to support my team-mates in any way I can ahead of a big few weeks ahead as I take my own recovery day by day. I'll be back."

According to reports, Van Dijk has torn his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), an injury that would mean he is likely to face at least six months out of action.