Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has hired bodyguards as a form of protection for him and his family, after the England star received a number of death threats following his season-ending challenge on Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk.
The 26-year-old has been caught up in the storm ever since he clattered the Dutchman during the Merseyside derby on October 17, a tackle which caused the Reds centre back to suffer a serious ACL injury.
Liverpool's ire was exacerbated by the fact that Pickford's actions went unpunished by the referee and the shot-stopper has inexcusably received a number of death threats on social media. According to the Daily Mail, Pickford has taken matters into his own hands and has hired a set of bodyguards to protect him and his family in their home.
The former Sunderland star has asked a specialist security firm to look out for his family and guards were seen outside his home last week. He has also been advised to stay off all forms of social media, so as not to reveal his whereabouts, which could encourage spontaneous attacks.
A source close to the player revealed Pickford is 'shocked' at the amount of abuse he has received in the aftermath and is deeply concerned for his family's immediate safety.
"Jordan has been shocked by the level of abuse he has received since the match. He is determined to do whatever it takes to make sure his family is kept safe."
Everton teammate Richarlison also came under fire from Liverpool supporters, after the Brazilian put in an extremely late and nasty challenge on new signing Thiago Alcantara during the derby. Unlike Pickford, the 23-year-old did earn his marching orders for the tackle and was banned for his rash actions.
A bad couple of weeks for Toffees coach Carlo Ancelotti came to an end on Sunday, as the Italian lost left-back Lucas Digne to suspension too, following his clumsy challenge on Kyle Walker-Peters in a 2-0 defeat to Southampton. However, his ban has been reduced from three games to one upon appeal.
Source : 90min