Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has intimated that Liverpool were furious over Virgil van Dijk’s injury in the derby with Everton earlier this season.
The Dutch defender was wiped out by Everton keeper Jordan Pickford in the Goodison Park draw in October.
Liverpool later confirmed that Van Dijk suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage in the incident and would be out for the season as a result of surgery.
Van Dijk released a statement; there was no reference to Pickford.
Pickford meanwhile, who was heavily criticised, did not speak publicly. The England keeper also escaped any retrospective action.
Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti did speak up for Pickford and claimed his intention was not to injure the Liverpool man. He also said that Pickford had been left saddened by the event.
With the return game at Anfield on Saturday, Klopp was asked about the incident and the Reds boss made it clear that it was good that his side did not have to play Everton again soon after.
“I don’t know what I’ll think when the season is over. Hopefully it will be something nicer than [the VVD injury]. It was an important day for sure,” Klopp said.
“Nothing will be carried over. A week later, two or three when we got the diagnosis for Virgil. Now we just don’t think about it, but it’s still a derby and that’s enough to be motivated.”
“It is good we didn’t play them again soon after, let me say it like this. We are all human beings and of course it was not nice. But now that is long gone and we don’t think about it anymore.
“It’s a derby and that is enough to be motivated to the highest level.
“Everton have had good teams over the years. In the specific games, it’s been close most of the time. Carlo would help each team in the world.
“Maybe they are closer [to Liverpool] than ever before. In the position in the table for sure.”
Naby Keita could return against Everton having recovered from a number of niggling injuries and illness.
He has not featured since the 7-0 victory at Crystal Palace on December 19, but he could return at Anfield on Saturday.
“It’s just unlucky. He could have been in the squad against Leipzig but it didn’t make sense. So he stayed home and trained but then he was ill and couldn’t train until yesterday. We don’t hold him back. It would be nice to have him.”
Keita could return
“He is not injured anymore, so we will see. Naby trained with the team yesterday so we will see.
“Yesterday we reintegrated him again. I just don’t know, but we don’t hold him back or whatever. Of course, after the injuries he had, we don’t want to force him in or something like that, but it would be nice to have him.
“Is he able to play a few minutes on Saturday? I don’t know. If he’s not, if we speak about it and it’s better to rather not play a few minutes then it is better to stay away from the team and just train proper, proper.
“Being around, on the bench, are not the most intense things and he needs to get used to the intensity again. No decision made yet, but he is not injured anymore and now we have to figure out how fit he is to play how many minutes.”
Klopp also said Fabinho, James Milner and Diogo Jota are all still missing from training.
“They all get closer – Fab gets closer, Millie gets closer and Diogo gets closer, but not close enough for the weekend,” said Klopp.