Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk is facing a longer ban after ignoring orders from referee John Brooks as he left the pitch following his red card incident against Newcastle.
The 32-year-old was shown a straight red during Liverpool’s 2-1 victory at St James’ Park after bringing down Alexander Isak before the forward could get through on goal. Brooks was in no doubt and reached for his back pocket to send the Dutchman off after committing the foul.
VAR had another look at the incident but chose to stick with Brooks’ on field decision, meaning the Reds would have to play over an hour with 10 men. Liverpool were 1-0 down at the time of Van Dijk’s dismissal, but they managed to come back and win the match 2-1 thanks to a late Darwin Nunez brace.
But it is safe to say Van Dijk was far from pleased with his red card. The Netherlands international could be heard telling Brooks that his decision was a “f***ing joke”. Van Dijk also appeared to remonstrate with fourth official Craig Pawson before Jurgen Klopp intervened and the defender walked down the tunnel.
Almost 10 days on from the incident and Howard Webb has backed Brooks during the first of this season’s monthly editions of “Match Officials Mic’d Up”. The programme, which is presented by Michael Owen, will explain and clarify contentious decisions that occur in the Premier League.
Van Dijk’s red card was one they highlighted. Footage and broadcast could show communications between Brooks and VAR official Stuart Attwell. After Van Dijk brought down Isak, Brooks could be heard saying: “He comes through the man to play the ball” before telling the Liverpool players to “move away” while VAR had a look at it.
Brooks then told Van Dijk to “wait” until a decision had been made. He also added: “You will need to go immediately if I tell you you’ve got to go.” Liverpool continued to insist that it was not a red card but Brooks remained insistent that he had made the correct call.
Although VAR agreed with Brooks, Van Dijk refused to accept the decision and reluctantly left the pitch. That and comments he made following the incident landed him in hot water with the FA as he received a charge.
According to The Sun, Van Dijk is facing an extra match ban after he ignored orders from Brooks. If Van Dijk does receive another game ban, he could be set to miss Liverpool’s game against Wolves on September 16.
Meanwhile, Webb had his say on the incident. He said:
“We think it’s a good identification of a foul by John Brooks, the referee. We see that in the end Van Dijk does play the ball but to get there he clearly kicks through the foot on Alexander Isak.
“It’s not only a free-kick, but it also denies Isak an obvious goalscoring opportunity. He is close to goal, he is going to be able to control the ball quite easily, there are no covering defenders. And, of course, we know the direction is towards the goal.
“Van Dijk is not protected by the fact that if that had happened in the penalty area it would have been a yellow card for an attempt to play the ball or challenge for the ball. It’s outside the penalty area so therefore it still has to be a red card for [denial of goalscoring opportunity].
“When that happens outside the penalty area, even if the defender is trying to play the ball, which van Dijk was, the fact he committed a foul means he has to be sent off in this circumstance. It’s quite a clear situation.”