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29th Aug 2023

Virgil Van Dijk’s contentious red card creates uncertainty on length of ban

Lee Costello

Virgil van Dijk

Van Dijk could face a longer suspension.

Virgil Van Dijk received a straight red card for his tackle on Alexander Isak during Liverpool’s 2-1 victory over Newcastle at St Jame’s Park.

The Liverpool captain appeared to get much off the ball, but did go through the back of his opponent’s leg in the process, meaning that it was definitely a foul.

The contention around it is whether or not he denied a goal scoring opportunity, because if he didn’t make the tackle it’s likely the striker would have let the ball run in front of him, and he would have been one on one with the keeper.

However, Jamie Carragher made the point at half time that there was no way of knowing for sure if it would have been a goal scoring opportunity because it didn’t get that far.

VAR checked the decision and agreed with the match official, meaning that the Dutchman was indeed sent down the tunnel and would receive a ban.

Most straight red cards result in a three-game suspension, however, the Premier league ruling states that if it’s for denying a goal scoring opportunity, then it is just a one-match ban.

As this was the case for Van Dijk, it means that he is set to miss the next match which is at home to Aston Villa, which is probably a relief to Liverpool fans who would have though he was going to miss the next three.

The 32-year-old isn’t out of the woods yet though, because the rules also state that if there is violent conduct or any verbal dissent, then that one-match suspension can be increased to two games instead.

Following his sending off, the centre back was visibly frustrated and did argue with referee John Brooks, before going towards the sideline and confronting the fourth official as well.

It is possible that the Premier League deem this behaviour to be worth of the increased suspension, and Van Dijk would be miss the Villa match, and the Wolverhampton game that is set for the return from the International break.

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