Liverpool face an anxious wait on the fitness of star defender Virgil van Dijk and summer import Thiago after they were both taken to hospital with suspected knee injuries in the wake of Saturday’s fractious draw with Everton.
Dutchman van Dijk suffered a first-half injury after appearing to hyper-extend his right knee after a strong challenge from Everton and England number one Jordan Pickford which forced Jurgen Klopp to replace his talismanic defender with Joe Gomez after just eleven minutes.
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Replays of Pickford’s lunge suggested that it could have merited a red card but further inspection revealed the defender was marginally offside in the build-up to the horror tackle – meaning that no further action could be taken.
“In the game, it was pretty quick. For me, it was a clear penalty what I saw, and then obviously we saw that the flag went up, so offside,” Klopp said after the game.
Liverpool and VAR are at it again, as Pickford avoids a red card for a horrendous tackle on Van Dijk. Advantage Liverpool. pic.twitter.com/blnKO1jRqg
— Troll Football (@TrollFootball) October 17, 2020
“I still thought it’s worth (it) to have a look on the foul but that didn’t happen. We have no power there, we just sit here and now you discuss it with me.
“We have to ask other people about that. What can I say? I don’t want to say Jordan Pickford wanted to do it but it’s, of course, not a challenge how a goalie can do it in the box because there’s another player.
“If it’s not offside, it’s 100 percent a penalty.”
Pickford’s punishment – or lack thereof – comes down to the referee’s judgment as to the type of foul it was. Had the challenge been viewed as “violent conduct,” Pickford would have been eligible to have been dismissed regardless of Van Dijk being offside.
However, if it was seen as “serious foul play” then Van Dijk’s offside nullifies any potential red card.
Seems to be that if a challenge is ruled as “Serious Foul Play”, then a player cannot be carded if they harm a player in an offside position.
If it is ruled as “Violent Conduct” it can be. pic.twitter.com/3dBhSyiOmD
— Samantha Quek (@SamanthaQuek) October 17, 2020
There was indeed one sending off later in the game, with Everton’s Richarlison issued his marching orders after a nasty late challenge on recent signing Thiago – with the Spanish international also suffering a knee injury in the incident.
“I leave the pitch and Thiago tells me that in the red-card situation with Richarlison he thinks he got injured,” said Klopp of the latter incident.
“We will see if it’s true or not. If a player felt like this, we need to have a look.”
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It was reported that both Van Dijk and Thiago have been sent to hospitals for scans on their injuries, with Liverpool now facing an anxious wait as to the fitness of a handful of players – also including first-choice goalkeeper Alisson – ahead of their Champions League trip to Amsterdam to face Ajax on Wednesday.
The game between the two table-topping Merseyside rivals finished 2-2, with Liverpool having a late Jordan Henderson winner ruled out for a marginal offside call.