Georginio Wijnaldum fury at 'stupid' Jordan Pickford tackle on Virgil van Dijk

Mike McGrath
·3-min read
Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (right) is challenged by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool. PA Photo. Issue date: Sunday October 18, 2020. Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk will undergo surgery on the knee injury he sustained against Everton and “will begin a rehabilitation programme to enable him to reach full fitness as soon as possible”, the club have announced. See PA story SOCCER Liverpoo - PA /Laurence Griffiths 
Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (right) is challenged by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool. PA Photo. Issue date: Sunday October 18, 2020. Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk will undergo surgery on the knee injury he sustained against Everton and “will begin a rehabilitation programme to enable him to reach full fitness as soon as possible”, the club have announced. See PA story SOCCER Liverpoo - PA /Laurence Griffiths

Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum last night branded Jordan Pickford’s challenge on Virgil van Dijk a “stupid” act, claiming that team-mates suffered sleepless nights after the horror injury at Goodison Park.

In an astonishing attack on their Merseyside rivals, Wijnaldum accused Everton’s goalkeeper of having no care for a fellow professional with a tackle that caused anterior cruciate ligament damage to Van Dijk.  

Jurgen Klopp also described Pickford’s challenge — as well as the tackle on Thiago Alcantara which led to Richarlison’s red card — as hard to accept, particularly as the Van Dijk’s injury saw no punishment after Var.

“Of course we are upset,” said Wijnaldum. “The way Pickford went in on the challenge was completely, in my opinion, stupid. I believe he didn't want to injure Virgil the way he injured him but the way he took the tackle, basically he didn't care about what happened after the tackle. 

“We had a lot of games against Everton, in my opinion they take it way too far in the games we play against them. We know it is a derby and everyone wants to win a derby so sometimes you go a little bit over the top but it was too much. 

“It was not only his tackle, we can talk about the tackle from Richarlison on Thiago was also a nasty one. That is what bothered me the most and I think most of the other players as well. 

Chris Bascombe's Liverpool briefing
Chris Bascombe's Liverpool briefing

“Accidents can always happen in football, you can be unlucky with a tackle and injure someone but the way they were doing it is completely unacceptable. It makes it harder that they don't get punished. In this case Pickford doesn't get punished after seeing the videos.

“When we were speaking with the players after Saturday none of the players had slept because of what happened. It is really hard, a hard one to take and also a hard one for the team.”

Van Dijk could miss the rest of the season, while Thiago will miss the Champions League match against Ajax in Amsterdam. 

“A couple of days ago something happened which should not have happened in a football game,” Klopp said. “It was not the first time and it probably won’t be the last time but I see it similar to my players. Both challenges were difficult to accept, let me say it like this.

“As a human being, it is not that I want every player punished but it is something we all agree on — if you do something wrong, you have to deal with the consequences. At this moment there are only two people dealing with the consequences. Virgil van Dijk and Thiago Alcantara.”

Pickford asked Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson to convey his apologies to Van Dijk while Richarlison issued a public apology to Thiago.