Liverpool are anxiously awaiting news on Virgil van Dijk’s knee injury amid fears he could be out of action for the rest of the season.
In the first half of Saturday’s 2-2 Merseyside Derby draw, the Liverpool defender was forced off after a horror challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
The England and Toffees No.1 was lucky to escape a red card after scything the Dutchman down in the box, clattering into his knee with the challenge.
Van Dijk went to hospital, where he underwent scans to determine the extent of the injury.
It has been reported by BeIN Sports that Van Dijk has suffered cruciate ligament damage which would rule him out for up to eight months, but Liverpool have yet to confirm it that is the case.
“Virgil played I don’t know how many games in a row, he plays with pain, but he couldn’t play on,” said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
“That’s not good.”
The challenge appeared a certain penalty and sending off, but a VAR review showed Van Dijk was just offside before Pickford’s wild tackle.
It was initially claimed that the offside cancelled out any serious foul play, which meant Pickford was spared.
But PGMOL then confirmed that the VAR had failed to check whether it was a red card due to the analysis of the offside and, as it was a SUBJECTIVE decision, they ruled Pickford had made a genuine attempt to play the ball.
On the incident, former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher said: “If it’s an act of violent conduct it’s factual. A tackle is subjective because, is it serious foul play?
“That’s people’s choice and that’s where the dilemma was, they didn’t feel it was serious foul play so it defaults back to the offside.”
That mattered little to Van Dijk, though, as Pickford’s tackle spelled the end of his Merseyside derby.
The centre-back limped off and was subsequently replaced by Joe Gomez inside ten minutes.
Liverpool were later left to rue VAR again as Jordan Henderson’s late goal, which would have been the winner, was ruled out for a marginal offside call.
Klopp also lost Thiago Alcantara to injury, with the midfielder damaging his knee in tackle from Richarlison in the closing moments, which saw the Everton forward sent off.
”When I left the pitch, Thiago told me in the red card situation with Richarlison he thinks he got injured,” Klopp said.
“We will see if it’s true or not, but if he felt like this then we need to have a look.”