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30 years old Center-back for the Liverpool Football club, Virgil van Dijk has undergone knee surgery soon due to the challenge by Everton’s goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford.
Michael Oliver, the referee of the Liverpool versus Everton match which was held on October 17 has been criticized after Everton's keeper challenge at the Merseyside derby. This move by Pickford left Virgil in need of knee surgery on his damaged anterior cruciate ligaments and the player is on his way to recovery.
Even though the goalkeeper’s challenge took place in the Everton penalty area, a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) who reviewed the clip proved that the Center-back was offside and so a spot-kick was not awarded. The offside position of the player however did not justify Jordan's foul play and Oliver should have dismissed him for violent conduct.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, the referee said "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 trying 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 we should have done. We could still have given offside and sent Pickford off. What I was surprised about looking at it afterward 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."
Oliver admitted that the VAR which was introduced in the Premier League last season has become an obsession. He however admitted that even with VAR, the last call still fell on him. He explained that VAR had helped in setting players at ease as there was now a chance to replay what happened and get a second opinion.
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