Premier League referee admits he should have sent Pickford off

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Michael Oliver revealed his thought process behind the controversial decision to leave Jordan Pickford on the pitch during the Merseyside derby.

A ball came into the Everton box and was headed for Virgil van Dijk when Pickford spread his legs and outrageously tackled van Dijk. No penalty or card was given at the time because van Dijk was in an offside position when checked by VAR.

Michael Oliver has now admitted to DailyMail that

“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.”

The incident happened on October 17th and led to some disturbing abuse online for Michael Oliver and Jordan Pickford, the abuse came as Liverpool’s star man VVD suffered a long term knee injury that he required surgery for. He is now recovering but Liverpool fans seem to blame this incident on why they are not clear at the top of the Premier League.

It’s nice to get a referee’s view on a controversial on field decision as it doesn’t happen very often.

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