The derby between Everton and Liverpool is never -just– a game; but for Virgil van Dijk it’s a big deal tonight. He is returning to Goodison Park; the place where he experienced an abrupt end to his European Championship dream with the Orange on October 17th; 2020. And for the first time he faces Jordan Pickford; whose wild action was responsible for the severe cruciate ligament injury that Van Dijk was absent for ten months.
According to Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp; it will be impossible for Van Dijk to remember the nasty collision with the Everton keeper on the pitch tonight (kick-off at 9.15 p.m. Dutch time). “We are human. It is of course difficult to forget and ignore something like that;” said the German looking ahead at his press conference. “Although it is true that Virgil is very experienced and has seen many things since his return.”
-He has to be completely free of all the things that he might have on his head because of past problems. The only difference from previous games is that he was injured in the stadium. Besides; it’s just a football game; but of course a special one; a derby. We know what our supporters want and try to make their dreams and wishes come true. “
Van Dijk himself deliberately refrained from seeing Pickford in the run-up to the derby; although nobody has to fear that he will not venture forward tonight with a corner or a free kick. -Sometimes I still have the moment in the back of my mind. Although I haven’t been careful with a duel since then; “said the central defender shortly after his return.
Where the captain of the Dutch national team had to watch the European Championship on TV last summer; he saw Pickford reach the final with England (who lost to Italy on penalties). But even then; he was careful not to say anything about his tormentor. “So I’m not going to make any statements because then you don’t know how they translate it in the media in England;” he said in a statement. an interview with the AD.
Surprisingly; Pickford was never suspended for his hasty action. Referee Michael Oliver and the VAR considered a yellow card to be sufficient and the English Football Association did not intervene afterwards; as the situation had already been assessed on the pitch. Oliver then admitted that he had made a mistake and should have drawn red.
Van Dijk doesn’t have all bad memories of Everton and Pickford. Ironically; on his debut for Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby in early 2018; he headed a corner behind the misty keeper in the FA Cup and helped his team to a 2-1 win at Anfield.
Check out our soccer videos below.
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? What can!
Sign in or create an account and don’t miss a thing of the stars.
News Now of Everton on JournalTime.org