Netherlands coach Frank de Boer has revealed that he said some “bad words” after watching Virgil van Dijk suffer serious injury in October.
Van Dijk is likely to be out for the rest of the season after suffering knee ligament damage against Everton.
Toffees goalkeeper Jordan Pickford erratically collided with the defender during the 2-2 Merseyside Derby draw.
Several pundits have had their say on the clash, including Jamie Carragher. The former Liverpool defender says that there is no way to blame Pickford for intent during the challenge.
But while De Boer does not accuse the England No 1 of such antics, he says he felt taken aback by the incident.
“I saw it live. I was shocked. I said some bad words,” the manager told a press conference (via Goal).
“It was a shock, because he’s such an important player, our captain, and he’s so important in our squad. We will miss him.”
Van Dijk will be absent for the Netherlands’ upcoming internationals against Spain, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Poland.
But his absence could have much further-reaching consequences if he misses next summer’s delayed European Championships.
Van Dijk is one of countless players across Europe to have suffered injury since the season began in September. Indeed, because of the shorter time frame ahead of the Euros, the schedule has been truncated.
De Boer, though, says a busy run is part and parcel of being a top professional footballer.
Players must accept busy schedule
“The players have to play so many matches, we now sit waiting for the next injury,” the coach said. “That says something about the schedule they face.
“What I can do as a trainer is highlight the problems. It would be best if the football associations work together and take a stand together.
“But money rules and the show must go on, that’s just the way it is. As coaches, we also have to take this into account.
“I look very closely at the amount of time that the players have played and then based my selections on that.”
Liverpool have had their fair share of injuries this season, with Trent Alexander-Arnold the latest to suffer a problem.
The England right-back went down with a calf issue against Manchester City on Sunday, with his return date now pencilled in.