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Virgil van Dijk injured by Jordon Pickford in Merseyside derby as fans call for red card

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'That's a leg-breaking tackle.... it's a career ender': Virgil van Dijk hobbles off injured after HORROR knee-high lunge from Jordan Pickford... and Peter Crouch joins fans left in disbelief as goalkeeper isn't even bookedJordan Pickford took a huge gamble in the early stages of the Merseyside derbyThe goalkeeper came out and clattered Liverpool defender Virgil van DijkOffside was awarded, saving Pickford from a possible straight red card dismissalEverton's erratic ways continued as Richarlison was sent off in the second half 

Virgil van Dijk hobbled off the pitch in a thrilling Merseyside derby after a horror challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Pickford came surging out of his goal in the early stages of the match and clattered into Liverpool defender Van Dijk in a scissors motion, crunching the outstretched knee of the Dutchman.

Van Dijk immediately collapsed in a heap and needed extensive treatment in the area, before having no option but to leave the field.

Jordan Pickford completely missed the ball and crunched the knee of Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk

Pickford mis-timed the challenge and planted his weight on Van Dijk's leg at full speed

The tension in Van Dijk's leg could be seen as Pickford slammed in with a scissors motion

Huge questions were immediately asked of Pickford, who was lucky to escape a red card and penalty kick due to Van Dijk being in a marginally offside position.

The Video Assistant Referee took a look at the situation, though ruled Van Dijk was not in a goal-scoring position so a verdict on Pickford could not be awarded. 

With thousands of football fans watching on around the world, social media quickly became awash with instant reaction.

One user wrote: 'That's a leg breaker of a challenge with no intention but to hurt the player.'

TV cameras captured all angles and showed the full extent of the horror tackle on Saturday

Another added: 'Offside or not, Pickford should be sent off for that disgusting challenge.' 

Even Gary Neville, who rarely misses an opportunity to poke fun at his former rivals, took to Twitter to offer his verdict that Pickford was 'very lucky.' 

Pickford went on to pull off a string of impressive saves in the clash, denying Joel Matip from an arcing corner with cat-like reflexes. 

Speaking in the BT studio at half-time, former Liverpool man Peter Crouch said: 'As ex-players we will tell you, it's a potential leg breaking tackle. It's horrendous. 

'If that happens in the middle of the pitch they sometimes get away with it because they have to fly out. If that happens in the middle of the pitch it's an instant red card.

Everton icon Leon Osman, also featuring as a studio pundit, added: 'It's an absolutely horrendous tackle and we don't want to see it in the game. It's a career ender. But it actually changed the momentum of the game.' 

Jurgen Klopp had no option but to withdraw Van Dijk, with Liverpool set to return to Champions League action next week against Ajax.

On in his place came Joe Gomez, who had been dropped from the starting line-up following Liverpool's shock 7-2 defeat by Aston Villa.  

At the time of the incident Liverpool were leading the game courtesy of an early strike by the returning Sadio Mane in the opening minutes.

Following Van Dijk's departure, Everton quickly clawed their way back into the contest courtesy of a Michael Keane header from a corner kick. 

The Toffees' erratic ways continued in the second half as Richarlison was given a straight red for a dangerous lunge on Thiago Alcantara, before the game finished in the most controversial of circumstances after Sadio Mane was officiated to be offside.

The Liverpool man had slipped the ball into captain Jordan Henderson who scored courtesy of a Pickford fumble, only for VAR to controversially save Everton's blushes. 

Mohamed Salah had put Liverpool 2-1 ahead in the 72nd minute with a fantastic strike before Dominic Calvert-Lewin equalised after towering high into the air, prior to the last-gasp drama unfolding at Goodison Park. 




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