Jurgen Klopp insists the bad blood over Virgil van Dijk’s season-ending injury has died down ahead of tomorrow’s Merseyside Derby clash with Everton.
Liverpool’s hopes of defending the Premier League title were dealt a huge blow following the reverse fixture as Van Dijk suffered an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury, the Netherlands international’s season ended by an ugly challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
The aftermath of the clash saw several Liverpool figures criticise the conduct of the England international whose challenge went unpunished during September’s 2-2 draw, with tensions further increased following an injury to Thiago Alcantara following another wild challenge by Richarlison.
The two sides meet for the first time since those incidents and Liverpool’s title challenge has collapsed amid a succession of defensive injuries, with Klopp admitting Van Dijk’s injury was an ‘important day’ in the Reds season when asked if the clash at Goodison was a turning point in the club’s campaign.
“I don’t know what I will think when the season is over,” said Klopp at his pre-match press conference.
“Hopefully something nicer than [the Everton game]. It was an important day for sure.
Klopp insisted, however, that the tensions following the reverse fixture have died down despite his initial fury and says ‘nothing will be carried’ over into tomorrow’s game, Liverpool looking to continue an impressive record against their city rivals having gone unbeaten in 23 derby fixtures.
“Nothing will be carried over. A week later, two or three when we got the diagnosis for Virgil van Dijk, it is good we didn’t play Everton straight away again, let me say it like this.
“But that’s long gone. Now we just don’t think about it, but it is still a derby and that’s enough to be motivated.”