Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has reiterated that he did not go down for “no reason” in the build-up to Napoli’s opening goal in the Champions League clash between the sides on Wednesday.
Van Dijk rose to head the ball away and went down after contact from Dries Mertens, who then finished past Alisson after beating Dejan Lovren’s attempted offside trap.
The opening goal capped a sluggish first half for Liverpool in which Fabinho left the field injured, but Lovren then redeemed himself by rescuing his side a point in the second half.
Speaking to beIN Sports after the match, Van Dijk was asked for his view on Napoli’s goal and was quick to offer an abrupt response.
“I didn’t go down for no reason,” the Dutchman said. “I won the ball. Obviously I think [Mertens] didn’t even want to challenge the ball at first, so he touched me.
“I think it’s a foul, the referee didn’t have his best day today, and that is what it is.”
Quizzed about whether his side panicked after Mertens’ goal, Van Dijk said: “No, so far this season we have never panicked. Obviously it’s a pity to concede and the way we conceded as well but we had to do what we planned to do and I thought the second half was good.
“We kept pressing and going at them and they had no opportunities apart from the goal, but we are disappointed not to win today.”
The result means Liverpool must avoid defeat away to RB Salzburg to secure qualification to the knockout stages.
“It’s difficult but it’s good to face difficult challenges,” Van Dijk said of his side’s situation. “We know it will be tough but we’re ready for it. We have to be ready for a difficult night, and we will be.”
Liverpool’s next game, however, sees them face Brighton at Anfield in the Premier League.