Liverpool are eagerly awaiting the fitness of star defender Virgil van Dijk and summer importer Thiago after they were both hospitalized with suspected knee injuries after Saturday’s tie against Everton.
Dutchman van Dijk sustained an injury in the first half after appearing to overstretch his right knee after a tough challenge from Everton and England number one Jordan Pickford. Jürgen Klopp had to replace his talismanic defender with Joe Gomez after just eleven minutes.
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Repetitions of Pickford’s lunge suggested it might have earned a red card, but further investigation found the defender was marginally offside leading up to the horror tackle – meaning 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 we obviously saw that the flag was so high offside,” said Klopp after the game.
“I still thought the foul was worth a look, but it didn’t happen. We have no power over there, we just sit here and now you discuss it with me.
“We have to ask other people about it. What can I say? I don’t mean to say Jordan Pickford wanted it, but of course it’s not a challenge how a goalkeeper can do it in the box because there is another player.
“If it’s not sidelined, it’s 100 percent a penalty.”
Pickford’s punishment – or lack of it – is based on the umpire’s judgment of the nature of the foul. Had the challenge been viewed as “violent behavior” Pickford would have been eligible for sacking regardless of whether Van Dijk was sidelined.
However, if it is considered a “serious foul”, Van Dijk’s offside invalidates any possible red card.
If a challenge is classified as “serious foul play”, it appears that a player cannot be carded for damaging a player in an offside position. If this is classified as “violent behavior” it may be. pic.twitter.com/3dBhSyiOmD
– Samantha Quek (@SamanthaQuek) October 17, 2020
There was actually a drop down later in the game where Evertons gave Richarlison his marching orders after a nasty, late-breaking challenge on the recent signing of Thiago – with the Spain international also suffering a knee injury in the incident.
“I’m leaving the field and Thiago tells me that in the situation with Richarlison on the red card, he believes he has been injured,” said Klopp of the latter incident.
“We’ll see if it’s true or not. If a player has felt this way, we have to take a look.”
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It has been reported that both Van Dijk and Thiago have been taken to hospitals to investigate their injuries. Liverpool now have to wait eagerly for the fitness of a handful of players before the Champions League – including goalkeeper first choice, Alisson Reise to Amsterdam to face Ajax on Wednesday.
The game between the two Merseyside leaders ended 2-2. Liverpool had a late Jordan Henderson winner who was eliminated due to a minor offside.