Everton has apologized for the injury their goalkeeper Jordan Pickford inflicted on Liverpool’s defender Virgil van Dijk on Saturday, October 17, during the first Merseyside derby of the 2020-2021 season.
Pickford jumped into Virgil van Dijk in the 6th minute of the Premier League match involving Everton and Liverpool football club at Goodison Park. Unfortunately for Liverpool’s defender, the Video Assistant Referee ruled him out for an offside and left Pickford unpunished for his nasty challenge.
Seconds later, the 29-year-old Netherlands defender signified to the bench that he could not continue the match due to the pain he sustained from the challenge. He was substituted afterward in the derby that ended 2-2.
After the match, Virgil van Dijk was taken to the hospital for examination of the injury and it was discovered that he has a damaged knee ligament that needed to be operated upon.
Hence, it is speculated that Jurgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool, would be without his most reliable defender for the better part of the 2020-2021 season as it is estimated that the Netherlands international might be out of football for at least 6 months.
He has already missed Liverpool’s first UEFA Champions League match which was against Ajax on Wednesday. It ended 0-1 in favor of Liverpool, thanks to an own goal scored by Ajax’s Nicolas Tagliafico.
On the part of Everton, the football manager of the club, Carlos Ancelotti admitted that it was sad that the defender got injured from his goalkeeper’s challenge on the Dutchman. He however insisted that it was not intentional.
“To be clear, we are sorry for the injury of Virgil van Dijk, ” said Ancelotti. “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 he intended 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 Van Dijk is injured]. It was a strong contact, maybe mistimed, but sometimes in football, it can happen.”
Meanwhile, despite agitation against the decision of the center-referee and the Video Assistant Referee to overlook the challenge on the defender, the English FA has declared that no further actions will be taken against Pickford.
🧤 “That’s not something a goalie can do in the box!”— SPORF (@Sporf) October 17, 2020
😤 Jurgen Klopp was left raging with Jordan Pickford’s challenge on Virgil Van Dijk. pic.twitter.com/xzmMidUGhm