Van Dijk set for surgery after damaging knee ligaments in Everton game

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has damaged knee ligaments and is set to undergo surgery after he was injured in Saturday's Merseyside Derby draw against Everton, the English Premier League champions confirmed last night.

The Dutch defender was substituted early in the game after Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made a reckless challenge in the box, which left Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp fuming.

"Liverpool can confirm Virgil van Dijk will undergo surgery on the knee injury he sustained during Saturday's 2-2 draw at Everton," the club said in a statement.

"The centre-back damaged knee ligaments following an incident involving (Everton) goalkeeper Jordan Pickford after six minutes at Goodison Park."

The Reds did not specify a timescale for the 29-year-old's return to action, but pundit Richard Keys told beIN Sports he had been informed that the Holland captain had hurt his anterior cruciate ligaments and could be out for "seven to eight months".

Former English Premier League referee Peter Walton believes Pickford should have been sent off for this challenge.

"Players don't get a free shot just because the whistle has gone," Walton told BT Sport.

"Pickford was so late with his challenge which meant van Dijk had to leave the field.

"It was a poor challenge and (referee) Michael Oliver should have gone to the monitor...

"If I were the VAR, I'd have asked Michael to go and take another look. If that was in the centre of midfield, that would have been a sending-off." - REUTERS