Graeme Souness says it’s “nigh on impossible” to make a mistake from Stockley Park after the VAR officials ignored Jordan Pickford’s “assault” on Virgil van Dijk on Saturday.
The Liverpool centre-back has sustained anterior cruciate ligament damage after he was forced off in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Everton following a tackle from Pickford.
The England keeper caught Van Dijk above the knee with both feet off the floor after just 11 minutes. Van Dijk hobbled off and is already focused on his recover after releasing a statement on Sunday.
While Jamie Carragher has defended Pickford, Souness was in no mood to mince his words, as he took aim at Pickford and the VAR officials.
He told Sky Sports: “That amazes me [that there was no VAR check on Pickford’s tackle]. If you’re a football person, I guarantee every single professional, semi professional, maybe the guys in the Hackney Marshes, when they look at that, their focus is not on the offside, their focus is on one thing: The assault on a player. It’s outrageous.”
Pickford escaped any action, as a free-kick to Everton was awarded for offside.
“For me, it’s ‘wow’. I’m not even thinking about offside, but these people who make these decisions, who sit in Stockley Park, can look at that and say ‘that’s offside’. I just don’t get it,” added Souness.
“They just don’t know what they’re talking about, I’ve been to Stockley Park, over a year ago, it is nigh on impossible to make a mistake with the technology they have, the time they give themselves, it’s nigh on impossible.
“And they can still get it wrong. That wasn’t a tackle, that was an assault.”
Carra defends Pickford
Former Liverpool defender Carragher though has leapt to Pickford’s defence.
“I am going to defend Jordan Pickford on that. Yeah, it was a terrible tackle. I’ve had my leg broken, I nearly broke Nani’s leg. These things happen, unfortunately in football, I don’t think anyone goes out deliberately to hurt someone.
“I believe 99 per cent of professional footballers will not go and hurt someone.
“Jordan Pickford is all over the place with his game at the moment, he comes out, makes a crazy decision as he has been doing over the last 12 months, and very, very unfortunately one of the top players in the Premier League is in a bad way.
“I really hope and I really believe Jordan Pickford will not be in a good place tonight.”
Liverpool now have just Joe Gomez and Joel Matip as recognised senior centre-halves. Both too have have had their injury issues in recent years.
Replacement needed in January
Jurgen Klopp has also played Fabinho at centre-half previously. It was his versatility that prompted Klopp to shelve plans to sign a new defender to replace Dejan Lovren this summer.
Carragher, however, is adamant the Reds must enter the market as soon as possible to sign a replacement.
“I think Liverpool will have to go into the market in January and not just because of van Dijk’s injury but they were weak in that area anyway,” he added.
“They lost [Dejan] Lovren and the other players in those positions are very injury prone.
“Devastating news for van Dijk but for Liverpool and Klopp it will be right away, ‘who can we get in?’.
“They have to be ready on January 1st to bring in who they want in that area because that could stop them going on to achieve what they want to achieve.”