Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has labelled the tackle from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford on Virgil van Dijk ‘completely stupid’.
Van Dijk will require knee surgery as a result of the ACL damage inflicted by the reckless challenge from Pickford and could miss most of the season.
Pickford wasn’t punished at the time by either on-field referee Michael Oliver or the VAR official on duty, nor will he face any retrospective sanctions for his actions. Wijnaldum also suggested that Everton’s overly physical approach to recent Merseyside derbies in terms of tackling has become ‘unacceptable’.
“None of the players slept because of what happened with Virgil and the way it happened. It is a really hard one to take,” Wijnaldum said to the media at a pre-match conference ahead of facing Ajax in the Champions League.
“We are upset. The way Pickford went in on the challenge was completely stupid in my opinion. I believe he didn’t want to injure Virgil, but the way he [made] the tackle he basically didn’t care about what happened after the tackle.”
Van Dijk wasn’t the only Liverpool player to be on the receiving end of a poor challenge, with Richarlison shown a straight red card for his dangerous tackle on Thiago Alcantara. It is something that Wijnaldum feels there has been too much of from Everton players in these games.
“We had a lot of games against Everton and, in my opinion, they take it way too far,” he said. “We know it’s a derby and everyone wants to win so sometimes you go a little bit over the top, but it was too much. We can talk about the tackle from Richarlison on Thiago which was also a nasty one.
“Accidents can always happen in football, but the way they were doing it is completely unacceptable. It makes it harder that they don’t get punished. In this case Pickford doesn’t get punished after seeing the videos.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp made similar comments about the tackles on Van Dijk and Thiago, who is awaiting further news on the extent of a possible injury, being hard to accept.
“It was not the first time and it won't be the last, but both challenges were difficult to accept. I don't want to see Everton players punished, but we all agree if you do something wrong, you have to deal with consequences,” Klopp commented to the media.
“There are only two people suffering with the consequences and they are Virgil and Thiago.”
Source : 90min