Virgil van Dijk is Sent OFF for last-man foul on Newcastle’s Alexander Isak as Liverpool suffer a nightmare start at St James’ Park, with Gary Neville insisting he wouldn’t have taken up the challenge ‘a few years ago’ years”.
Liverpool’s misguided start to Newcastle at St James’ Park was made worse after captain Virgil van Dijk was sent off for a ‘thoughtless’ challenge on Alexander Isak.
The Dutchman received his running order less than three minutes after Anthony Gordon pounced on a mistake by Trent Alexander-Arnold to open the scoring – with the Reds coming back later to win 2-1 to the death thanks to the brace from Darwin Nunez on Tyneside.
In the first half, Van Dijk ran across the back of Newcastle striker Isak in an attempt to win the ball back after cheating on him.
Isak fell to the ground after feeling contact and gave referee John Brooks an easy decision by showing a red card, reducing Liverpool to 10 men.
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has explained that Van Dijk was immature in his decision-making and wouldn’t have attempted the same tackle in his prime “a few years ago”.
Virgil van Dijk (left) was sent off as Liverpool trailed Newcastle at St James’ Park on Sunday.
Van Dijk (not pictured) was shown a red by referee John Brooks during a difficult start for the Reds
Van Dijk (right) had come up against Newcastle striker Alexander Isak in a reckless challenge
Commenting on Sky Sports, Neville said: “He (Van Dijk) is now starting to abuse the official, Van Dijk. He’s not going to knock it down.
“We’ve all been there, you just have to keep going and you just have to get off the pitch and take your meds as hard as you can, but he’s a Virgil van Dijk that a few years ago I wouldn’t have tried to win this.
“Let Isaac take a bite and take it out to him in the channel.”
The incident deprived Isak of a clear goalscoring opportunity, with Van Dijk lunging at the Newcastle striker as he ran for goal.
He then tried to protest his innocence and tried to argue that his challenge didn’t deserve a red card before eventually walking off the pitch.
Van Dijk had a frustrated exchange with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp in the dugout before returning to the locker room as play continued.
Van Dijk (right) tried to protest his innocence before eventually walking off the pitch.
Gary Neville (pictured) has insisted Van Dijk wouldn’t have taken up the challenge ‘a few years ago’
The Reds captain (left) received the first red card of his Liverpool career since joining the club six years ago.
The expulsion was Van Dijk’s first for Liverpool since arriving for a then-world record fee of £75million in 2017 from Southampton.
Neville further criticized the visitors’ defense for allowing Van Dijk to be placed in this position and called the Reds’ four defenders look like an ‘inexperienced unit’.
“Liverpool’s back five are very experienced, but they behave like an inexperienced unit at times,” Neville said.
Van Dijk (right) received a red card for this challenge on Isak (left) in the 28th minute
“Some of the things they do, you would think they would have played 20 games together, not 200 or 300 together or as many as they have.”
Fellow pundit and ex-Liverpool centre-back Jamie Carragher agreed with Neville’s verdict and called Van Dijk ‘lazy’ but insisted the challenge shouldn’t have been a red card .
“I think Virgil van Dijk is doing a lot of harm here. At first he is lazy and fails to make himself understood. The decision to issue a challenge is probably misguided. But I still don’t think it’s a hit. red.
“I don’t think there are enough out there. How do you know it’s a goalscoring opportunity. I think at the beginning he is lazy and he should recover sooner, he shouldn’t take the challenge but it’s not a red card,” he added.