Jordan Henderson has revealed how Jordan Pickford asked him to apologise on his behalf to Virgil van Dijk after the Liverpool defender was forced off through an injury caused by the Everton goalkeeper in a thrilling Merseyside derby on Saturday afternoon.
The Premier League champions played out an enthralling 2-2 draw with the top-of-the-table Toffees at Goodison Park, in which the visitors twice saw their lead cancelled out and had a 92nd-minute winner ruled out by the Video Assistant Referee.
But they were forced to play much of the match without influential centre-back Van Dijk, who was on the end of a terrible Pickford challenge in the seventh minute.
The Blues shot-stopper came surging out of his goal to meet a loose ball but clattered Van Dijk in the process with his scissor tackle catching the Dutchman’s right knee.
Pickford did not see red for the reckless tackle because the centre-half was ruled offside by a tight VAR decision.
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Premier League rules state that a red card and penalty could not be given because play was deemed dead after the offside, with the incident classed as serious foul play rather than violent conduct.
Van Dijk was forced to limp off shortly after and was missed by the Reds, who conceded at a corner from Michael Keane’s header and then again from a sublime Dominic Calvert-Lewin header in the second half.
And with concerns for Liverpool over how long Van Dijk – who had not missed a single minute of Premier League football for Jurgen Klopp’s side since January 2018 before this – will be out for, Henderson has revealed that Pickford apologised post-match.
The Liverpool skipper said to BT Sport: “Everyone keeps asking us about it so I’m guessing it’s a red card. It mustn’t be a good challenge.
“To be fair, Jordan came up and apologised to me after the game and [told me] to tell Virgil.
“It mustn’t be great. But yeah, not just that incident, we created so many good chances to score and overall we should’ve won the game.”
Henderson thought he had scored Liverpool a late winner only for Sadio Mane to be adjudged offside in a highly contentious VAR call, with the Senegalese winger appearing to be in line with Yerry Mina.
The England midfielder added: “It does feel [pretty cruel]. You know better than me with the offside, but it must be [cruel] with VAR, that everyone wants. Yeah, disappointed that we haven’t got the win.
“I thought the performance was very good and we deserved to win the game.
“They bend the lines sometimes don’t they to make it offside? I’m not sure how they did it, yeah I’ve seen it before but not just that goal, our overall performance, the chances we created, we deserved to win, I thought from start to finish we were the better team. Everton will be the happier with the draw.
“I had full confidence we would react in the right way and today we reacted very well. We knew it would be an intense game, Everton are doing so well at the moment.
“We knew it would be a good game, intense but I thought we did enough to win the game. But there’s still positives going into the next game.
“The result at [Aston] Villa woke us up a bit certainly, it was a bad game overall, we all know that.
“After that it’s about the reaction and I thought the boys reacted really well. That’s all you can ask, to give everything, especially in a derby.
“Playing the way we did, some of the football, the chances we created, we defended well with intensity.
“Very happy with the performance. Disappointed we didn’t get the three points but we move on and go again.
“We take it by each game. The next game is the biggest game and this was our biggest game today. Ajax is our next biggest game.
“We’ll not look forward too far, we always concentrate on what’s important and that’s the next game.”
Speaking on the game’s two major incidents, a frustrated Klopp said: “With the injury of Virgil van Dijk, that’s pretty early in the game.
“I didn’t see it back but it took a while so obviously it was not too big, the offside. Then Pickford kicks him completely. I didn’t see it back, so you maybe can say more about this.
“The only decision I saw back was now, only briefly in the dressing room, the Henderson goal and the pass for Sadio, and I didn’t see offside, sorry.
“Maybe somebody can explain it to me because the picture I saw was not offside. But it was offside because somebody decided it was.”
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