'It could happen to any of us' - Man City's Ederson offers support to Pickford over 'unfortunate" Van Dijk tackle

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Jordan Pickford, Virgil van Dijk split
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The Liverpool defender is expected to miss most of the season after suffering cruciate knee ligament injury during the Merseyside derby

Ederson said he has sympathy for fellow goalkeeper Jordan Pickford after his mistimed tackle put Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk out for what could be the rest of the season.

The Manchester City keeper believes Everton’s Pickford had no intention of hurting Van Dijk, who is now recovering after surgery on a cruciate knee ligament injury.

Pickford later apologised for the challenge and Ederson drew comparisons with a 2017 incident with Sadio Mane when he needed eight stitches for a face wound after being caught by the Liverpool striker's high foot.

“First and foremost, I don't think any player steps on the pitch looking to injure an opponent,” the Brazilian said. “Sometimes you have a fraction of a second to make a decision.

"Unfortunately, Jordan Pickford had that clash with Van Dijk and it ended up resulting in a serious injury. That's part of football; sometimes it happens. 

“It could happen to any of us. I don't think it was Pickford's intention to injure Van Dijk and in the same way I don't think it was Mane's intention to do that when he clashed with me in our game a few years ago. You have such a short time to make a decision and it could happen to any of us.”

Van Dijk’s loss will be keenly felt by Jurgen Klopp’s side while the Dutchman's replacement Fabinho is also set to miss Sunday’s crucial visit to the Etihad Stadium, but Ederson said the Reds still have plenty of quality all over the pitch. 

“Their best centre-back, Van Dijk, is out. Fabinho has been playing really well this season and he's out too. But we mustn't forget that Liverpool still have great players,” the 27-year-old added.

“Their absences aren't going to be a big disadvantage for them or a big advantage for us. We don't focus on the players that aren't going to play, or a specific absence, we focus on Liverpool as a whole team.” 

While Liverpool have problems at the back, they have maintained their attacking threat - scoring 11 goals in their last four matches, with six coming from new signing Diogo Jota.

“I'm not surprised with the performances of Diogo Jota, because he is a player I already knew from Portugal,” Ederson said.

“I have already played against him and I have known him for a while. Some people might be surprised by him, but I'm not. 

“I know him well, I have watched his games and I played against him many times. I'm aware he's a really talented and very good player.”

Another player that Ederson knows well is international team-mate Alisson Becker and, despite being rivals for the Brazil No.1 shirt, he says they are good friends off the pitch.

“I have a good friendship with Allison. He is an incredible guy,” he said. “Our rivalry is only on the pitch, off the pitch that doesn't exist. We are good friends.

“I hope we both can have a good game on Sunday. Our style is very similar. Perhaps I play more with my feet, but so does he. 

“Liverpool have more or less the same style of play and he is an incredible goalkeeper.”

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