SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

Roy Hodgson fumes at “unbelievably harsh” red card – accuses “disappointing” Van Dijk

Roy Hodgson did not have a glowing review for Virgil van Dijk, who he feels should be above trying to get a player a yellow card in the manner he did against Crystal Palace.

It was a surprise for many to see Jordan Ayew given his marching orders in the 75th minute, with the Palace man shown a second yellow card for a challenge on Harvey Elliott.

It flipped the game on its head. At the time of his departure, Palace were 1-0 up, and just a minute later it was 1-1, and by full-time it was 2-1 to Liverpool.

The red card was certainly a turning point and Hodgson did not hide his disdain for going down to 10 men, going as far as criticising Van Dijk for something any player has the right to do.

“I think having to play the game with 10 men for the last 15-20 minutes was unbelievably harsh on us,” Hodgson told TNT Sport post-match.

“I don’t believe it was worthy. I don’t think we deserved nine yellow cards, I probably deserved mine.

“He’s [Ayew] been on four yellow cards for three games, he’s shown incredible discipline.

“Van Dijk took the opportunity to get him the first yellow card by kicking the ball against him from a few yards away. That’s very disappointing.

“I think if you’re Liverpool, you do not need players of Van Dijk’s quality and status in the game trying to get a player a yellow card for kicking the ball against him.

“The second [yellow] I thought was a good challenge. Even if it was deemed a foul, which it could be, it wasn’t a yellow card.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 9, 2023: Crystal Palace's Jordan Ayew (R) fouls Liverpool's Harvey Elliott and is is shown a second yellow card and sent off during the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace FC and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If we look at the two yellow card incidents in isolation, they are text book. Jurgen Klopp recently voiced his desire for his team to tap into more of the dark arts and that’s what Van Dijk did.

It happens frequently against us, and the Liverpool captain was well within his rights to attempt to play the ball, Ayew knew what he was doing when he got in the way.

Hodgson’s frustration did not dissipate by the time his post-match press conference came around, reiterating that he “totally disagrees” with the sending off in “every respect.”

He is under a lot of pressure and it is understandable that he is “disillusioned” with officiating, as he went on to describe, but fuming at Van Dijk in particular is interesting.