Watch Pickford horror tackle that forced Van Dijk off injured as Everton ace escaped punishment due to Liverpool offside

THE OFFSIDE flag dug Jordan Pickford out of trouble after a terrible tackle on Virgil van Dijk nearly gave away a penalty.

Liverpool were 1-0 up in Saturday's Merseyside derby when the Everton goalkeeper flew into the challenge.

A looping cross fell in the six-yard box with van Dijk first to the ball.

The Dutchman's touch knocked the ball out of play but Pickford had already committed and came steaming in.

His forceful tackle was wiped out van Dijk, leaving the Liverpool defender hurt on the ground and unable to continue.

VAR checked the incident with the flag up moments after the challenge.

Replays showed van Dijk's armpit was millimetres offside when compared to Dominic Calvert-Lewin's foot.

And, with former referee Peter Walton telling BT Sport that the tackle was worthy of a penalty, the offside was upheld.

However, a red card could still have been dished out to the England keeper, with VAR officials deciding the tackle was not serious foul play.

Former referee Walton said: "The foul from Pickford is still relevant. Even if the game is stopped, players are still accountable for their actions.

"I think Pickford was a lucky player."

Joe Gomez replaced van Dijk for the Reds, who took an early lead through Sadio Mane at Goodison Park before Michael Keane's leveller.

Van Dijk's exit ended his impressive streak of Premier League action.

The centre-back last missed a minute when taken off during Liverpool's win over Southampton in September 2018.

The last time he failed to start a Premier League match was January 2018, with next week's game against Sheffield United potentially in doubt after this blow.

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