Home Sport Virgil van Dijk forced out of Merseyside derby after horrific Jordan Pickford...

Virgil van Dijk forced out of Merseyside derby after horrific Jordan Pickford challenge

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Virgil van Dijk sustained an ankle injury following a challenge from Jordan Pickford (Picture: BT Sport)
Virgil van Dijk sustained a knee injury following a challenge from Jordan Pickford (Picture: BT Sport)

Liverpool linchpin Virgil van Dijk is facing a spell on the sidelines after he was forced off during the Merseyside derby following a horrendous challenge from Jordan Pickford.

The champions had taken an early lead through Sadio Mane, but were rocked by the injury sustained by their defensive rock moments later.

Mane’s cross located Van Dijk at the far post but as the centre-half attempted to nudge the ball past Jordan Pickford, the onrushing Everton goalkeeper clattered the Netherlands international and sent him crashing to deck with a knee-high challenge.

Everton only avoided the concession of penalty due to the fact that Van Dijk had been standing, only marginally, in an offside position, while Pickford escaped without even a caution from match referee Michael Oliver.

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Van Dijk received lengthy treatment on the sidelines and although he was able to get to his feet unaided, it was ultimately deemed that he was unable to continue.

Jurgen Klopp will be sweating on the fitness of Virgil van Dijk
Jurgen Klopp will be sweating on the fitness of Virgil van Dijk (Picture: Getty)

The former Southampton and Celtic star was replaced by Joe Gomez who had been dropped to the bench with Jurgen Klopp opting to recall Joel Matip.

And Van Dijk’s absence was almost immediately felt as Michael Keane drew the hosts level in the 19th minute, powering home a header following a corner from James Rodriguez.

Reacting to the loss of Van Dijk, former Everton defender Martin Keown told BT Sport: ‘He’s a massive figure, he’s a power horse in the air.

‘You’ve got Dominic Calvert-Lewin in there, you’ve got balls being whipped in. It’s going to disrupt Liverpool, no doubt.

‘I’m not sure about Matip’s fitness as well coming back from a long lay-off. Who is the leader now in that pack?’

MORE: Dimitar Berbatov’s Premier League predictions, including Man City vs Arsenal & Everton vs Liverpool

MORE: Liverpool legend John Barnes tells Arsenal fans what to expect from new signing Thomas Partey

More to follow…

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