Jermaine Jenas was in awe of Everton goalkeeper for a late save he made to preserve a clean sheet in the goalless draw against Liverpool.
Deep into injury time of the Merseyside derby, after the Toffees had harshly had a Conor Coady goal ruled out by VAR for offside despite a touch from James Milner, Mohamed Salah shot hard and low for the bottom corner but the ball came back off the post.
The goalkeeper’s celebration suggested he was reacting to personal involvement and replays subsequently showed a crucial touch onto the upright, to cap a towering display in goal reminiscent of some of the late season heorics in the relegation battle last year, and Jenas was was effusive in his praise.
Speaking live on the BT Sport match coverage on Saturday (3 September, 2.23pm) he said: “Pickford’s storming around like he get’s something on this. Ah he does! Unbelievable save. I mean, just add it to the repertoire of incredible saves that he’s made today.
“You can tell by the way, the look on his face in celebration, he’s the one who got the finger to it.”
Darren Fletcher added: “He’s England’s number one and he’s proved it here today.”
Jenas agreed, saying: “Oh yeah, that’s why he’s always been Gareth’s go-to in an England shirt. He’s got character, quality. I think there were some moments where he did need to calm down but really big, big, big performance from Jordan Pickford today.”
Pickford is rarely a quiet observer, and such is the heat from opposing fans that he tends to draw he is either the villain of the piece or in games like this one the undoubted hero.
On his day he is as good as any keeper in the Premier League, and Saturday was most certainly his day as he also tipped a Darwin Nunez shot onto the bar and repeatedly kept Roberto Firmino at bay.
Coming up big in any game is important but in an Everton shirt there is no better game to do it in than for the visit of Jurgen Klopp’s side.
There look to be some serious shoots of recovery for Frank Lampard’s men after a difficult start to the season, and they came so close to a first win.
As so often for Everton in the former Chelsea boss’ time in charge the officials had a major say in that not happening, as a video review disallowed Coady’s first goal for the club against his former side.
He was marginally ahead of Milner’s outstretched foot, but as Neal Maupay’s ball came off the Reds man the rules should have allowed the goal to stand, and had it been the winner it would have been huge.
Virgil van Dijk was also lucky to escape with a yellow for a studs-up challenge on Amadou Onana, which could have made a difference, but it still came down to Pickford after all that to prevent a late Liverpool winner and a feeling of major injustice.