By and large, 2018 has been an excellent year for Jordan Pickford.
But, unfortunately, it ends on a sour note.
The Everton goalkeeper, who became a national hero in the summer following his performances for England at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia, made a mistake during Sunday’s Merseyside derby that will be remembered for many years to come.
With the scores tied at 0-0 deep into stoppage time, Pickford inexplicably turned Virgil van Dijk’s miscued volley back into play via his crossbar.
The ball then landed perfectly to Liverpool’s forgotten man Divock Origi, who cemented his place in Liverpool folklore with one of the easiest goals he’ll ever score.
Pickford, who apologised to Everton fans for the “freak incident” after the match, must have wished for the ground at Anfield to open up and swallow him whole following the worst gaffe of his career so far.
“I just want to say sorry to the Everton fans,” the 24-year-old was quoted as saying by the Guardian. “I think you could see our progression as a group, the chances we created and the football we played. That’s a positive but what can I do? 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 but I will be ready for Newcastle on Wednesday.
“I will say sorry to the Everton fans again because I know how much it means to them. As players, we know how much it means to us. You make mistakes every now and again. It’s not something you can learn and train and get better from. It’s just a freak incident.”
However, Liverpool fans might have felt sorrier for Pickford if it wasn’t for comments he gave to the Daily Mail following Alisson’s mistake against Leicester back in September.
Alisson was left red-faced after being tackled by Kelechi Iheanacho while trying to pull off a Cruyff turn on his own byline - and Pickford’s reaction is now being brought up by Liverpool fans over on Reddit.
Alongside the Mail’s headline - 'I won't blunder like Alisson': Jordan Pickford vows not to take risks like the Liverpool goalkeeper - Pickford commented: “It's a risk - if it comes off it looks good. But if it doesn't... It's a style of play and I think that's the way Liverpool want to play as well.
“Mistakes will happen and it's about not making the next one. I'm going to try not to put myself in that position to make those mistakes.
“It's the timing of the game, really. You don't want to get too comfortable if you're winning and start trying to be a No 10.
“If it's on to do I'll do it and if it's not we'll manage the game. That's where I learn more. The more games you play the more game management you learn.”
You were tempting fate with those comments, Jordan.
By the way, full credit must go to Alisson for consoling Pickford after the full-time whistle.
The Brazilian could have been forgiven for not giving a damn about the Everton keeper after his comments to the media earlier this season, but he showed his class by giving his Toffees’ counterpart a hug at full-time.