Pickford sends apology to van Dijk after horror tackle in Merseyside derby

Jordan Pickford has sent an apology to Virgil van Dijk after his horror tackle forced the Liverpool defender off in the Merseyside derby on Saturday.

Van Dijk had got in behind the Everton defence from a free-kick and touched the ball past the onrushing Pickford, who clattered into him with a wild lunge.

Liverpool were only denied a penalty by the offside flag as van Dijk had strayed offside, with Pickford counting his blessings referee Michael Oliver did not take action.

The Everton goalkeeper was fortunate to escape any punishment after his challenge left van Dijk unable to continue as he hobbled off the field after just 11 minutes.

Speaking after the match, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson told BT Sport: "Everyone keeps asking me so I guess it must not have been good challenge.

"Jordan [Pickford] came up and apologised after the game and [told me] to tell Virgil."

Pickford went on to play a huge hand in the game's events, making two top class saves – first from Trent Alexander-Arnold's free-kick, and then from Joel Matip's header.

The loss of van Dijk also looked to affect proceedings as Liverpool soon surrendered their one-goal lead after his departure and generally looked less sturdy at the back.

Everton centre-back Michael Keane lept unchallenged to head home from a corner in an area van Dijk arguably would have been patrolling.

That cancelled out Sadio Mane's opener before Mohamed Salah restored Liverpool's advantage in the second half.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin grabbed a late equaliser though with another header after outjumping Andy Robertson, again exposing Liverpool's defence without the presence of van Dijk.

Should Pickford have seen red for his tackle? Have your say below.

There are now concerns the Dutchman could be ruled out for further matches, with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admitting post-match: "It's not good. Virgil plays with pain but he couldn't play on. Not good."

Before the game had ended all square, Oliver did brandish a red card following another X-rated tackle, this time from Everton's Richarlison on Thiago Alcantara.

Henderson then had his late goal chalked off for a controversial offside decision against Mane by the VAR, leaving both clubs with a share of the points.

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