15 July 2024

Virgil van Dijk: Liverpool finally had some luck go our way against Everton  | The Independent

Should Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil Van Dijk have seen red for Liverpool at Newcastle? Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville’s verdicts…
Virgil van Dijk was sent off for a last-man challenge on Alexander Isak in the first half of Liverpool’s trip to Newcastle; Trent Alexander-Arnold was deemed lucky not to be given his marching orders earlier in the game for two quick-fire yellow card flashpoints

Jurgen Klopp agrees with every Everton fan after Liverpool's Merseyside  derby victory

Jamie Carragher on Trent Alexander-Arnold decisions: Ref made rod for his own back
Jamie Carragher believes Virgil van Djik should not have been sent off for his challenge on Newcastle’s Alexander Isak
Jamie Carragher believes Virgil van Dijk’s sending off against Newcastle should not have been a red card as it did not deny a clear goalscoring opportunity – while the referee made two wrong decisions in not sending Trent Alexander-Arnold off earlier in the game.

In a chaotic Super Sunday first-half in St James’ Park, Alexander-Arnold stayed on the pitch despite escaping a second yellow card for stopping a counter-attack led by Anthony Gordon – moments after picking up an initial booking for time-wasting.

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Then – two and a half minutes after Alexander-Arnold’s mistake gave Gordon and Newcastle a 1-0 lead, Van Dijk was sent off for bringing down Alexander Isak as he prepared to run through on goal.

With Carragher assessing both incidents in the half-time studio, and Gary Neville analysing the incidents from the St James’ Park commentary booth, read below for what both Sky Sports pundits’ made of the decisions.

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Should Alexander-Arnold have walked early on?
Should Trent Alexander Arnold have seen red against Newcastle?
Should Trent Alexander-Arnold have seen red for two bookable offences early on against Newcastle?
INCIDENT: Alexander-Arnold feels he is fouled for a shove by Gordon, but referee John Brooks awards a throw-in to Newcastle. As the Liverpool defender gets back up, he throws the ball away, thereby delaying the restart. Brooks gives him a yellow card.

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Moments later, Gordon is felled by Alexander-Arnold as he launches a counter-attack. Referee Brooks chooses not to present the Liverpool defender with a second booking, and gives him a warning instead.

CARRAGHER’S VIEW: “Trent deserves a yellow card [for the first booking]. We know the rules, he throws the ball away, but the referee makes a rod for his own back.


Trent Alexander-Arnold blocks the run of Anthony Gordon
Alexander-Arnold blocks the run of Gordon
“How is the shove from Gordon not a foul in the first place? How the referee doesn’t give a foul there is absolutely unbelievable. I think that’s why he doesn’t give him a second yellow moments later.

“I think the referee has made two mistakes there. Initially Alexander-Arnold has been fouled and we’ve all been there – you would throw the ball away. You have no time to think about a yellow card coming.

“I think that plays on the referee’s head. The referee has panicked on the second one, and thought maybe the first one was a foul on Alexander-Arnold, can I get away with not giving him a red card early on?”

NEVILLE’S VIEW: “The first booking is a needless one, we’re still getting used to the new rules. He just throws it away, which is now a standard booking. He feels hard done by and is pushed and throws the ball away.

“The second incident is too big for him [the referee]. He doesn’t want to make the decision.

“Alexander-Arnold is lucky. He steps out to the left and puts his arm across Gordon. He knows one more and he’s done. I’m convinced that if he wasn’t on a yellow card, he would get one for that.”

Van Dijk sees red against Newcastle
Van Dijk is sent off for last-man challenge on Isak
Did Van Dijk deny a clear goalscoring opportunity?
INCIDENT: Moments after Liverpool go 1-0 down, Van Dijk is accused of fouling Isak on the edge of the box. Referee Brooks gives the Dutchman a straight red card, which VAR agrees with as the Newcastle striker was adjudged to have been denied a clear goalscoring opportunity.

What does the FA rulebook say?
According to FA Law 12, section 5, a player is sent off and shown the red card if he denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player’s goal by an offence punishable by a free-kick or a penalty kick.

CARRAGHER’S VIEW: “Van Dijk does a lot wrong – being lazy coming across and the challenge is ill-advised, but I don’t think there’s a red card. How do you know that’s a goalscoring opportunity?”

NEVILLE’S VIEW: “I think he just kicks through the centre-forward. It wasn’t Van Dijk’s challenge to win from the angle he was coming in at. He had to just try and follow Isak’s run but he tried to win it.

“He kicks his left leg, it’s so rash from Van Dijk. He doesn’t need to commit there. We’ve all been there. He just has to go off the pitch, take the medicine. As hard as it may be.

“But it’s a Virgil van Dijk who a few years ago would not have made that challenge. He would have let Isak take a touch and take it off him as he ran through the channel. He wellies through him. Isak has gone past him because Van Dijk has committed.”


What the managers said

Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool’s hard-fought 2-1 victory against Newcastle was one of his greatest wins as a manager and felt it was more difficult than their famous 4-0 success against Barcelona in 2019
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted Alexander-Arnold should have been given a first yellow card for time-wasting but felt there was a foul on the defender by Gordon.

“When Trent gets a yellow card, it’s a clear foul on him. Everyone would say that – even the fourth official said foul – but he doesn’t get a whistle. Should he throw the ball away? No, but it’s a foul on him.

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Eddie Howe reflected on Newcastle’s dramatic 2-1 defeat to Liverpool and felt the game should have been more comfortable for them but they were not ruthless enough in front of goal
“The [Van Dijk] red card? I need to have another look. I’m pretty sure there is no active contact from Virgil. He was just going for the ball and on the way there they crossed the path.

“Everybody said we will not get soft penalties anymore. Last year we had the one against Arsenal and we got an apology for that. It doesn’t help.”

Asked about the Alexander-Arnold incident, Newcastle manager Eddie Howe said: “For me, yes. You don’t want to see a player sent off but, for me, that’s a clear red card.”

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Howe also felt Van Dijk’s red card was justified, saying: “I think [it is a red card]. Alex is going through one-on-one and he’s brought down.

“Two moments that are key in the game and the referee got the first one wrong. We’re not looking at that as the reason we didn’t win the game – that has to fall on our laps.

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