‘It’s a leg-breaker of a challenge’: Virgil van Dijk hobbles injured in Merseyside derby after horror tackle from Jordan Pickford as fans express disbelief without any red card
- Jordan Pickford took a giant gamble in the early stages of the Merseyside derby
- The goalkeeper came out and patted Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk
- Offside was awarded, which saved Pickford from a possible rejection of a straight red card
Virgil van Dijk was left jumping off the pitch in the Merseyside derby after a horror challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Pickford came undulating out of his goal in the early stages of the match and clapped into Liverpool defender Van Dijk in a scissor move, crushing the Dutchman’s outstretched knees.
Van Dijk immediately collapsed in a pile and needed extensive treatment in the area before he had no choice but to leave the pitch.
Jordan Pickford missed the ball completely and crushed Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk knee
Pickford missed the challenge and planted his weight on Van Dijk’s legs at full speed
The tension in Van Dijk’s legs could be seen as Pickford slammed in with a pair of scissors
Big questions were immediately put to Pickford, who were lucky to escape a red card and a penalty kick due to Van Dijk being in a marginal offside position.
The video assistant referee looked at the situation, though he ruled that Van Dijk was not in the goal scorer, so a verdict over Pickford could not be awarded.
With thousands of football fans following around the world, social media was quickly flooded with instant response.
One user wrote: ‘It is a leg-breaker of a challenge with no intention of harming the player.’
TV cameras captured all angles and showed the full range of horror tackles
Another added: ‘Offside or not, Pickford must be sent off for the disgusting challenge.’
Even Gary Neville, who rarely misses an opportunity to put fun on his former rivals, took to Twitter to give his verdict that Pickford was ‘very lucky’.
Jurgen Klopp had no choice but to withdraw Van Dijk, with Liverpool back to Champions League action next week against Ajax.
In his place came Joe Gomez, who had been dropped from the starting line-up after Liverpool’s shock 7-2 defeat to Aston Villa.
At the time of the incident, Liverpool were leading the game with permission for an early strike from returning Sadio Mane in the opening minutes.
After Van Dijk’s departure, Everton quickly scratched their way back into the competition with permission for a Michael Keane header from a corner kick.