Leicester City manager Dean Smith acknowledged that his team was lucky not to be two goals ahead of Everton, but credited Jordan Pickford with preventing Sean Dyche’s team from falling behind by three goals due to a rare goalkeeping decision, writes the LiverpoolEcho.
Everton started strong at King Power Stadium, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin converting a penalty, but after Caglar Soyuncu and Jamie Vardy scored, the game turned around. When Michael Oliver awarded a penalty for Michael Keane’s handball, Everton risked going into halftime with a 3-1 deficit. However, instead of committing early, Pickford, consulting a crib sheet showing opponents’ penalty tendencies on his water bottle, remained on his feet and saved James Maddison’s shot that went straight down the middle of the goal.
Smith said: “Since I’ve been here, if Kel (Inheanacho) was on the pitch, he was taking the penalty but if Madders is on the pitch behind Kel, he’d take it after Kel. That’s been there for the last three or four games so there’s not so much confusion from me.
“I spoke to a couple of coaches as soon as I got here and asked ‘who is on penalties?’ and Kel and Madders were the two as Vards hadn’t been playing much before we got here so naturally he wouldn’t be on them as he’s missed a couple this season. Madds is our top goalscorer and if he scores, nobody is even asking the question but fortunately for Everton, the goalkeeper stood up in the middle of the goal, which not many goalkeepers do, so it happens.”