Virgil van Dijk should be “angry” at Jordan Pickford for potentially ending his 2020-21 campaign, says Danny Murphy, with the Liverpool defender preparing to go under the knife after suffering knee ligament damage.
That injury was picked up during the dramatic Merseyside derby with Everton.
There were less than 11 minutes on the clock when Van Dijk was forced from the field at Goodison Park. He had been looking to build on the early lead given to the Reds by Sadio Mane when he was clattered by a reckless challenge from Toffees goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
No action was taken against the England keeper, but Van Dijk’s afternoon was brought to a premature conclusion as he hobbled from the field. It has now been confirmed that he will require surgery and is facing up to several months on the sidelines.
Murphy is among those to have condemned Pickford’s questionable antics in forcing a fellow Premier League star onto the treatment table.
The former Liverpool midfielder considers Van Dijk to be “the best centre-half I’ve ever seen” and admits his absence will hit the reigning Premier League champions hard.
Murphy told BBC Sport: “They are going to be worse off without him. They are going to be more vulnerable defensively without Van Dijk because he’s the best in the world – he’s the best centre-half I’ve ever seen, he’s that good.
“You are going to be more vulnerable. Fabinho could drop in there if [Joe] Gomez or [Joel] Matip are struggling, but after that, there isn’t that much cover.
“They have got to get through to January really, because it probably looks as though he is going to be out for the rest of the season.
“The circumstances surrounding it aren’t good. He must be devastated watching that back because it could easily have been avoided. I’d be angry.”
Pickford offered his apologies to Liverpool and Van Dijk on the day of an unfortunate incident, but that is of little consolation to Jurgen Klopp and his troops as they prepare to enter an important stage of their season that will deliver domestic and European fixtures.