Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford apologised on Sunday to fans for his blunder that handed Liverpool a 1-0 victory in the Merseyside derby at Anfield but said he is mentally strong enough to bounce back.
The England international misjudged a looping, miskicked shot from Virgil Van Dijk, appearing to push the ball upwards before it bounced on top of the bar and into the path of Divock Origi, who had a simple task to head into the open net.
Pickford apologised for his blunder but gave a different version of events.
“The ball spun and as I tried to flick it over, my hand hit the bar,” he said. “I think it is the Everton luck when we come to Anfield.
“It’s not something you can learn and train and get better from. It’s just a freak incident. You move on and get better. There is always a case as a goalkeeper… if you make an error it will lead to a goal. Unfortunately, it has been me today.”
It was a harsh end to a derby in which both Pickford and his opposite number Alisson Becker had produced good saves to keep their rivals at bay.
Alisson had some consoling words for Pickford at the final whistle and that was appreciated by the Everton man.
“I couldn’t hear what he said exactly but it was nice and it showed a bit of respect,” he said. “That football game was played with respect, there was nothing malicious — just a very good game of football.
“It’s unfortunate for me but I think it was a good game for everyone on outside to watch.”
Pickford is determined not to let the error derail what has been a good year for him, having established himself as England manager Gareth Southgate’s first-choice by performing well at the World Cup.
“I don’t sleep well after many games, really, but we have got a game on Wednesday and I will show people what I can do. You can’t practise what happened there in training. You just have to get on with it and I will show you my character.”
© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Chris Kelleher)