Jordan Pickford is ‘really sad’ about his tackle which led to a serious knee injury to Virgil van Dijk.
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Pickford clattered knee-high into Virgil van Dijk in the Merseyside derby last Saturday, but no penalty kick was given as VVD was offside. No red card was given to Pickford either, as just about everyone admits he should have been sent off for a horrendous tackle.
Liverpool’s players and manager Jurgen Klopp have been left ‘devastated’ by the injury, as Virgil van Dijk requires surgery and is expected to be out for the rest of the 2020-21 season.
Speaking ahead of Everton’s trip to Southampton on Sunday (watch live, 10am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti revealed that Pickford is remorseful and everyone at Everton wishes Virgil van Dijk the best.
“To be clear, we are really sorry for the injury of Virgil van Dijk,” Ancelotti said. “Every one of us hopes he can recover soon and well. There was this contact with Jordan Pickford: it was mistimed contact. But the fact the Premier League is so fast, it is not so difficult to arrive a little bit later.
“Jordan arrived a little bit later but his intention was to try to reach the ball. It was not to hurt Virgil van Dijk. To say it was premeditated, and this and that, in my opinion, is too much. Virgil van Dijk knows this. Jordan is really sad, really disappointed (that he is injured). It was a strong contact, maybe mistimed, but sometimes in football, it can happen.”
Pickford-Van Dijk: VAR should have intervened
Liverpool clearly believe that Everton have been too physical in recent meetings, as Georginio Wijnaldum called out the ‘unacceptable’ tackle and Everton’s general physicality in derby games.
Klopp echoed those sentiments but all of this talk does nothing to alter the fact that Liverpool have lost their defensive lynchpin for the season and their hopes of winning back-to-back Premier League titles have taken a huge blow.
Pickford didn’t mean to hurt Virgil van Dijk. We can all agree on that. However, the way he flew into that tackle, there was no other outcome other than causing harm to an opponent.
Liverpool are correct to be angry. Everton are correct to be sorry.
That nasty taste left in your mouth is because there was a chance for VAR to intervene and for the FA to retrospectively ban Pickford, but that hasn’t happened.