The Everton manager described the incident as “mistimed contact”
While Fabinho was an able deputy for Liverpool in their Champions League tie against Ajax, there’s no doubt that the champions will miss Virgil van Dijk after the Dutch defender picked up an ACL injury in the Merseyside derby.
Following the incident, Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has said that Jordan Pickford is “really sad” how his “mistimed” challenge on Van Dijk led to the Liverpool defender sustaining a serious knee injury.
Earlier this week, Liverpool confirmed that the former Celtic and Southampton defender would require surgery after he was unable to continue following a challenge by England goalkeeper Pickford in the first half of the 2-2 draw.
“To be clear, we are really sorry for the injury of Virgil van Dijk. Every one of us hopes he can recover soon and well. There was this contact with Jordan Pickford: it was mistimed contact,” Ancelotti told the Everton club website.
The former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager added: “But the fact the Premier League is so fast, it is not so difficult to arrive a little bit later. Jordan arrived a little bit later but his intention was to try to reach the ball. It was not to hurt Virgil van Dijk. To say it was premeditated, and this and that, in my opinion, is too much. Virgil van Dijk knows this.”
The FA have confirmed that Pickford will not face any disciplinary action for the challenge and while commenting on the incident, Ancelotti added:
“Jordan is really sad, really disappointed (that he is injured). It was a strong contact, maybe mistimed, but sometimes in football, it can happen.”
As for the immediate future of both clubs, Liverpool host Sheffield United at Anfield on Saturday, while Everton travel to Southampton on Sunday.