Liverpool vs Napoli: Virgil van Dijk defends himself on Dries Mertens tackle after yellow card

Virgil van Dijk believes his tackle on Dries Mertens was not a bad challenge and blamed a wet Anfield pitch for his costly yellow card.

Liverpool secured the 1-0 win required to progress at Napoli’s expense on Tuesday night, but Van Dijk will miss the first leg of their last-16 tie through suspension.

The Holland international made a last-ditch sliding tackle on Mertens in the 13th minute and appeared to win the ball, though bent Mertens’ ankle on the follow through.

Join Indpendent Minds

For exclusive articles, events and an advertising-free read for
£5.99
€6.99
$9.99
a month

Get the best of The Independent

With an Independent Minds subscription for just
£5.99
€6.99
$9.99
a month

Get the best of The Independent

Without the ads – for just
£5.99
€6.99
$9.99
a month

Referee Damir Skomina booked Van Dijk, much to Anfield’s annoyance, but television replays suggested other referees may have sent the 27-year-old off.

Van Dijk believed he had executed the tackle well. “I don’t think it was a bad challenge at all,” he said. 


Champions League Week 6 Goals





1/18 Liverpool 1-0 Napoli

2/18 Red Star 0-1 PSG

3/18 Red Star 0-2 PSG

4/18 Red Star 1-2 PSG

5/18 Red Star 1-3 PSG

6/18 Red Star 1-4 PSG

7/18 Barcelona 1-0 Tottenham

8/18 Barcelona 1-1 Tottenham

9/18 Inter Milan 0-1 PSV

10/18 Inter Milan 1-1 PSV

11/18 AS Monaco 0-1 Borussia Dortmund

12/18 AS Monaco 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

13/18 Schalke 1-0 Lokomotiv Moscow

14/18 Galatasaray 0-1 Porto

15/18 Galatasaray 0-2 Porto

16/18 Galatasaray 1-2 Porto

17/18 Galatasaray 1-3 Porto

18/18 Galatasaray 2-3 Porto

1/18 Liverpool 1-0 Napoli

2/18 Red Star 0-1 PSG

3/18 Red Star 0-2 PSG

4/18 Red Star 1-2 PSG

5/18 Red Star 1-3 PSG

6/18 Red Star 1-4 PSG

7/18 Barcelona 1-0 Tottenham

8/18 Barcelona 1-1 Tottenham

9/18 Inter Milan 0-1 PSV

10/18 Inter Milan 1-1 PSV

11/18 AS Monaco 0-1 Borussia Dortmund

12/18 AS Monaco 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

13/18 Schalke 1-0 Lokomotiv Moscow

14/18 Galatasaray 0-1 Porto

15/18 Galatasaray 0-2 Porto

16/18 Galatasaray 1-2 Porto

17/18 Galatasaray 1-3 Porto

18/18 Galatasaray 2-3 Porto

“Unfortunately I touched him, but I would never go in to hurt him or anything like that. I had the ball and obviously the wet pitch you slide through and I touched him but that’s football. 

“Unfortunately I’m suspended now for the first game [of the knock-out stages]. I heard it after the game so I was a bit disappointed about that, but we have plenty of quality players to fill my gap.”

Liverpool spurned chances to beat Napoli handsomely on Tuesday, with Van Dijk among the guilty culprits, and Jurgen Klopp’s side ultimately had to rely on a late reaction save from Alisson to ensure of progression.

A 1-1 draw would have consigned Liverpool to Europa League football in February, but Alisson denied Arkadiusz Milik’s close-range effort late on to ensure that his side are in Monday’s draw.

“In the end, they need one goal so it can fall in a crazy scrimmage or anything and they had their chance,” Van Dijk said. 

“[Alisson] was there to do his job! The save was unbelievable, you saw my reaction as well, it’s very important to have such a guy behind.

“We could have made it a lot easier, we could have scored another two/three, we didn’t, and then it was [important] for us to win our battles and keep it tight and we did.

“Alisson is also part of the defence and I think we all deserve the credit that we get from you guys, from the media and stuff. It starts up front. 

“You see today, obviously we have triggers to press and then make it difficult for them. If they come to our end then we need to be ready and we were.”

Follow the Independent Sport on Instagram here, for all of the best images, videos and stories from around the sporting world.

Source: Read Full Article