It’s not going to end any of the buzz still going around from the dramatic events that ensued during the weekend’s Merseyside Derby, but the Football Association have announced that there will be no retrospective action taken towards Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Early in the game on Saturday, a Liverpool corner was flicked out towards Virgil van Dijk who reached for the ball with Pickford immediately recognizing the danger. The England #1 rushed out trying to make himself as big as possible, and clattered into the defender, in the process entangling the Dutchman’s right leg and twisting it at the knee. Reports after the game claim that Pickford reached towards the player to apologize but was dismissed by van Dijk and his teammate Sadio Mane.
Referee Michael Oliver indicated that the reckless tackle would not be addressed since van Dijk was marginally offside at the time, a decision taken by VAR official David Coote who chose not review the tackle for dangerous play.
van Dijk hobbled to his feet after receiving medical attention, but could not continue and left the game. Reports from the later in the weekend say that the player has suffered a cruciate ligament injury that will require surgery and rehabilitation, and will miss several months of the season.
After the game Liverpool indicated they had reached out to the Premier League for clarification on the incident, and the VAR decision that saw a late winner chalked for another marginal offside. There had been some talk in media circles that there had been a push for retrospective disciplinary action, which has rarely been used since Everton forward Oumar Niasse was suspended a couple of seasons ago for simulation and winning a penalty that was given during the game.
The FA say Jordan Pickford will face no retrospective action following the Everton FC v. Liverpool FC fixture on Saturday [17/10/20] as the incident was seen by the match officials at the time.— paul joyce (@_pauljoyce) October 19, 2020
Today in a statement released to the PA news agency, the Football Association (FA) have confirmed that there will be no further action taken in the matter since the incident was seen and acted upon already by the match officials. Per the FA’s disciplinary rules retrospective action is only to be used if an incident was either not seen during the game by the officials, or during the VAR review.
Were any retrospective action taken, Everton would surely have been in their rights to challenge the league much like Liverpool have done regarding other incidents which were indeed not seen by the officials during the game. Andy Robertson flying studs-up into the back of Allan’s leg behind Oliver’s back, Mane’s theatrical dive clutching his head after Andre Gomes’ high boot came close to him, and the Senegalese forward petulantly kicking out at Yerry Mina seconds before Richarlison’s equally petulant dive and attempted late pull-back into Thiago - for which he was rightly red-carded - all come to mind.
Pickford can count himself lucky to not be punished after another performance where he combined excellent shot-stopping with boneheaded errors as the Blues salvaged a point to stay top of the Premier League table. Meanwhile, we wish Virgil van Dijk all the best on his road to recovery.