The Dutchman damaged his ACL and he is unlikely to feature again next season. Ancelotti claims that the challenge from the Everton keeper was unintentional.
“To be clear, we are really sorry for the injury of Virgil van Dijk,” Ancelotti told Sky Sports.
“Every one of us hopes he can recover soon and well. There was this contact with Jordan Pickford: it was mistimed contact.
“But the fact the Premier League is so fast, it is not so difficult to arrive a little bit later. Jordan arrived a little bit later but his intention was to try to reach the ball.
“It was not to hurt Virgil van Dijk. To say it was premeditated, and this and that, in my opinion, is too much. Virgil van Dijk knows this.
“Jordan is really sad, really disappointed [that he is injured]. It was a strong contact, maybe mistimed, but sometimes in football, it can happen.”
The Pickford challenge wasn’t the only reckless move from Everton during the game and Richarlison was sent off for a horror tackle on Thiago Alcantara. However, the Spaniard luckily escaped a serious injury.
Thiago is still expected to miss a few games because of the tackle.
Ancelotti’s claims are hardly going to make a difference for Liverpool who will feel hard done by the officiating during the game. The Reds should have won the game and they will feel that Pickford should have been sent off for his tackle.
Furthermore, Everton players have a history of coming up with reckless challenges against Liverpool in recent years.
The likes of Funes-Mori and Holgate pulled off similar stunts against the likes of Origi and Firmino in the past.
Recently, Wijnaldum hit out at Pickford for his challenge on Van Dijk and labelled the tackle as ‘stupid’.
It remains to be seen how Van Dijk recovers from his knee injury now. The Dutchman is expected to return next season and even then, he might not be at his best.
Van Dijk will need time to regain his match fitness and form even if he manages to return in time for the next season.
Ideally, Liverpool should look to bring in another quality defender and plan for the long-term without the Dutch international.