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Carragher tells Liverpool fans: Pickford didn't mean it

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has defended Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford over the knee injury suffered by Virgil van Dijk.

Pickford's reckless challenge in last week's derby has seen Van Dijk require knee surgery and effectively ended his season.

But Carragher wrote for the Telegraph: "I cannot agree with the suggestion Jordan Pickford deliberately set out to hurt his rival. I know how both feel. For Van Dijk, the torment is physical. For Pickford, it is psychological.

"As a player and now a pundit, you try to assess from a fellow professional's perspective and - as much as possible - to avoid being accused of double standards. That is why I looked beyond the raw feelings following Pickford's tackle and saw it for what it was - reckless, not malicious.

"Pickford did what I did against Nani. His initial movement was towards the ball, unaware of the man. When he realised he was too late and out of position, he panicked, lost control and dived in.

"These were the actions of a player whose head is all over the place. It has been for a while.

"Currently, every time Pickford makes a critical decision on the pitch, more often than not it turns out to be the wrong one. That one had serious repercussions for the Liverpool defender.

"These are the horrendous situations we must occasionally deal with in the game. Bad injuries are an occupational hazard.

"As professionals, there are demands upon us from coaching staff and fans to never shirk a tackle - especially in a derby.

"I can assure you, when we do so our main concern is being aggressive to look after ourselves and help our team, not cause injury.

"Equally, the pained reaction of Liverpool is not unique and I see hypocrisy in those who accuse my former club of going too far in their immediate response to it."

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