Virgil van Dijk was full of rage after John Brooks’ decision to dismiss him in Sunday’s win over Newcastle, launching a verbal outburst at the referee before he left the pitch.
The FA has been urged to hand the Liverpool captain a four match ban in response to his “unacceptable behaviour” following his red card incident.
Referee John Brooks sent off the Dutchman in the first-half of the Reds’ win at St James’ Park after he tripped Alexander Isak. The defender was furious though and launched a verbal outburst at Brooks and fourth official Craig Pawson as he refused to leave the pitch.
That reaction comes as referee boss Howard Webb is attempting to clamp down on abuse towards match officials. And former Premier League official Mark Halsey has called for Van Dijk to be handed an increased ban because of his behaviour.
“Football must not tolerate any more abuse of match officials. So the Football Association has to clamp down and punish Virgil Van Dijk for his unacceptable behaviour at Newcastle on Sunday,” Halsey told The Sun.
“The new Liverpool captain fell well below the standards set by one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League. Van Dijk swore, gestured and constantly questioned Brooks following the red card.
“Van Dijk will rightly receive a one-match ban for the straight red card but I believe his suspension should be increased. The abusive and insulting language used by the new Reds leader could be worthy of another RED CARD and result in an additional three-match ban.
“That would rule out Van Dijk for four matches in total – a fitting punishment for his poor conduct. Howard Webb went around all of the clubs in a bid to improve the standards of behaviour towards officials. But clearly some players, including Van Dijk, didn’t bother to listen.”
Halsey highlighted how it had taken Van Dijk nearly two and a half minutes to leave the pitch and walk down the tunnel. The former referee insisted the Liverpool skipper had sent a “poor message” to the footballing world.
He compared Van Dijk’s reaction to that of Nottingham Forest captain Joe Worrall’s, who walked straight off the pitch after his controversial red card against Manchester United.
While Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp intervened to calm down Van Dijk after the incident, the German insisted it was not a sending off. And as Mirror Football reported on Monday, the Reds are confident that Van Dijk will only be banned for one game.
“I don’t think it is a red card. It’s pretty much no contact, very little, and it’s on the way to the ball, but what can I say? The decision is like this, I cannot change it and I don’t want it,” Klopp said.
“It’s just, would I give this in a training game? Definitely not. There are reasons why I am not a ref and they are. I thought the boys deserved it today because with 10 men we played better and gave Newcastle a proper game.”