The current Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp described it as “unbelievable” seeing Virgil van Dijk shown a red card for his challenge on Newcastle striker Alexander Isak in the Premier League on Sunday.
And sure, Van Dijk was sent off less than half an hour into the contest at St James’ Park, leaving his team with 10 players and a mountain to climb after already going a goal behind.
Although clearing the ball, the Dutchman was penalised for going through his opponent to reach it. Denying Isak a clear goalscoring opportunity then resulted in a straight red card.
Klopp stated “There is no active contact from Virgil van Dijk. It is just going for the ball and on the way there, he made contact,”
The Liverpool manager was mistaken in his next point, as the nature of the dismissal means that Van Dijk will only be suspended for one game rather than three. But he was still perplexed as to why a red card was shown to his captain at all.
“For this contact, getting three games, oh my God, unbelievable. We will see. For today, it gave us the chance to create something really special. The boys put up a proper fight,” the boss added.
“Virgil’s really thankful [that the team went on to win]. It’s all good. Players came on, Jarell Quansah came on. Joe Gomez came on early and played a super game, I’m really happy for him.
“[Wataru] Endo has no clue what we actually do. Macca and Dom as a double six were brilliant. Diogo [Jota] made a super impact. Sometimes these kind of stories get written, obviously I would be much more happy if we can finish a game with 11.”
Prior to Van Dijk leaving the pitch, Trent Alexander-Arnold was also embroiled in a flashpoint when he risked picking up two quickfire yellow cards. The right-back was initially cautioned for throwing the ball in frustration and then fouled Anthony Gordon in a somewhat cynical manner.
“First and foremost, I think when Trent gets a yellow card, it’s a clear foul on him. The fourth official said so,” Klopp argued.
That was how Klopp actually reacted to both his players, Van Dijk and Trent serious action in the game that could have cost him the three point, but Nunes came through with an iconic brace.