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“It Was Not a Necessary Movement”: Alisson on Pickford’s Challenge on Van Dijk

The keeper weighs in on the recent controversy.

Liverpool Training Session Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

First-choice Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker returned to the pitch last weekend for the game against Sheffield United.

Speaking to Sky Sports he was recently asked about his views on Jordan Pickford’s challenge that effectively ended Virgil Van Dijk’s season causing damage to his anterior cruciate ligament.

“Every goalkeeper has a different way to play, a different way to move. But in that moment, a 100%, it was not a necessary movement”, Alisson said during a video interview.

“Thinking of what I have in my mind when I go for a situation, I go to finish the situation, because I know that if I go too soft, I know that the opponent can score. Everyone has their own way to go for the ball - I don’t agree with that [Pickford’s] way, everybody can see that. It was just an unnecessary movement.”

Social media has reacted with some objections to Liverpool’s apparent ongoing vilification of Pickford, with Jurgen Klopp and Georginio Wijnaldum having expressed their disapproval in recent interviews as well. Reports from this week also suggest that Pickford has had to hire security personnel to watch over his home, after allegedly receiving death threats over the Van Dijk incident.

That of course is an unacceptable and extremely worrying development, if true. How it makes Liverpool as a club the villain here is unclear. When players or the manager continue to receive the same line of questioning from the media, whether it’s right after the game or two weeks later, they’re not likely to change their stance. The challenge was horrendous and reckless and remains so today, and will remain so two months down the line - made worse by the fact that neither Everton nor Pickford faced any consequences.

Expecting an ounce from empathy from football media by maybe excluding the issue from their questioning of players and staff, is wishful. If the threats persist however, some sort of statement by Klopp during a press conference may be helpful. At some point, if the questioning continues, players may have to politely decline to comment on an issue that’s now in the past, to avoid further fueling the fire.

Meanwhile, Liverpool continues to sorely feel Van Dijk’s absence, with makeshift centre-half Fabinho now sidelined for a couple of weeks with a hamstring issue.

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