Jamie Carragher couldn’t believe the stance Graeme Souness had taken on Jordan Pickford’s challenge on Virgil van Dijk on Saturday.
Jordan Pickford escaped punishment after a horror challenge that seriously injured Van Dijk, an incident that Souness compared to “assault” during his punditry on Sunday afternoon.
But Carragher simply had to laugh at the irony of one of the game’s most aggressive midfielders coming down so hard on a challenge as the pair of Liverpool legends went back and forth on the incident.
Breaking up a debate about whether it would be better for the best officials to be on the pitch or monitoring VAR, Carragher pointed out the irony of Souness now prioritising the safety of players.
“It’s the bigger picture we’re talking about,” Souness said on Sky Sports. “The referee is there to protect players.”
Souness🗣" The referee is there to protect players"
Carragher 🗣 "Graeme the tackles you did? Behave
Jamie Carragher and Souness have a disagreement on Jordan Pickford's tackle on Van Dijk pic.twitter.com/TV4ddrU9ZF
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) October 18, 2020
Carragher immediately interrupted: “Oh, Graeme, the tackles you did! Oh behave, Graeme!”
Insisting his style of play took place during a different generation, Souness returned to his argument that there is a significant flaw in the VAR process.
"Would you rather the best referee at Stockley Park or on the pitch?" 🤔@Carra23 gives his thoughts on VAR as Graeme Souness says they "don't know what they're talking about"! 💥 pic.twitter.com/i5qQ7sVvhQ
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 18, 2020
Souness claimed that it was VAR’s failure to punish Pickford that was more egregious than the fact that referee Michael Oliver missed the severity of the challenge.
Souness continued: “I’m agreeing with you that Jordan Pickford didn’t set out to damage Virgil van Dijk but my point is that if a referee is on the pitch and doesn’t see anything wrong with that, it then goes back to Stockley Park and they still don’t see anything wrong with it and it’s not a sending off, that’s when it’s wrong!”
Carragher is of the opinion that no professional footballer goes out to harm an opposition player and he has compared the Pickford-Van Dijk incident to his horror challenge on Nani in 2011, when Carragher couldn’t help but feel guilty over potentially causing irreparable damage to a fellow professional.