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Brian Kerr on the 'outrageous'...
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Brian Kerr on the 'outrageous' tackle that injured Van Dijk & VAR failure

Paul Moore
Paul Moore

20:58 18 Oct 2020

Following the news that Virgil Van Dijk has been ruled out with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, Brian Kerr has questioned Michael Oliver's decision not to send off Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside derby.

In a statement released on Sunday evening, Liverpool have confirmed that Virgil Van Dijk will face a spell on the sidelines after he sustained a knee injury following a horrific challenge by Jordan Pickford in the champions' 2-2 draw with Everton.

"Liverpool FC can confirm Virgil van Dijk will undergo surgery on the knee injury he sustained during Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Everton.

"The centre-back damaged knee ligaments following an incident involving Blues goalkeeper Jordan Pickford after six minutes at Goodison Park," confirmed a club statement.

It adds: "Van Dijk was required to be substituted and further assessment on the injury has revealed an operation will be needed. No specific timescale is being placed upon his return to action at this stage.

Following surgery, Van Dijk will begin a rehabilitation programme with the club’s medical team to enable him to reach full fitness as soon as possible."

Virgil Van Dijk

Since arriving at Anfield, Van Dijk has been an instrumental figure at the club with his calming influence on the team's defence being very noticeable. The former Celtic and Southampton defender has helped the club reach back-to-back UEFA Champions League finals in 2018 and 2019, winning the latter.

Van Dijk injury

The Dutchman was also named PFA Players' Player of the Year and the Premier League Player of the Season in his first full season.

Van Dijk then won the FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and helped end the club's 30-year league title drought last season.

Speaking on OTB, Brian Kerr was baffled by Michael Oliver's decision not to send Pickford off, especially since he rates the referee so highly.

"I can't understand it. I think Michael Oliver is a great referee that has the respect of players, managers and coaches around the game. He sees things early, he's always composed and in control...and he makes big decisions. But, I just didn't get it yesterday. I couldn't understand it. I thought it was so blatant on the first look and he wasn't too far away. It was so blatant that the referee has to have at that," said Kerr.

The former Republic of Ireland and Faroe Islands manager also believes that Oliver was let down by the VAR officials too.

"Irrespective of the incident before that - offside or not - it was just outrageous the attempt to challenge Van Dijk from Pickford. That someone looking at VAR didn't say to the referee 'look, the offside call is sorted out but you need to have a look at this. I thought it was incredible," said Kerr.

As for Liverpool's immediate future, they have to plan for life without Van Dijk when Klopp's side start their Champions League campaign against Ajax in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

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