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Henderson: Pickford apologised for reckless Van Dijk challenge that forced Liverpool defender out of derby

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The Reds skipper has revealed that the Toffees goalkeeper passed on a message to a player that he clattered during a dramatic fixture on Merseyside

Jordan Pickford offered his apologies to Virgil van Dijk after forcing the Liverpool defender out of Saturday’s dramatic Merseyside derby with a horrific tackle, Reds skipper Jordan Henderson has revealed.

A lively opening to a thrilling contest at Goodison Park saw Sadio Mane break the deadlock inside three minutes.

Van Dijk was sniffing around for a second shortly after that opener, but was left in a crumpled heap on the deck after being clattered by a knee-high challenge from Everton goalkeeper Pickford.

The Toffees shot-stopper escaped any punishment as an offside flag had been raised, but the general consensus is that he was fortunate to avoid a red card – especially as VAR reviewed the incident.

Technology also came back to haunt Jurgen Klopp’s side at the end of a game that ended in a 2-2 draw, with Henderson seeing a late effort chalked off after intervention from those at Stockley Park.

Liverpool had plenty to feel aggrieved about at the final whistle, but Pickford has sought to smooth things over with Van Dijk after ensuring that the Dutchman would only see 11 minutes of game time.

Henderson told BT Sports of the incident: “Everyone keeps asking us about it so I’m guessing it’s a red card. It mustn’t be a good challenge.

“To be fair, Jordan came up and apologised to me after the game and [told me] to tell Virgil.

“It mustn’t be great. But yeah, not just that incident, we created so many good chances to score and overall we should’ve won the game.”

Henderson added on another controversial call that denied him the chance to celebrate a derby match-winner: “It does feel [pretty cruel]. You know better than me with the offside, but it must be [cruel] with VAR, that everyone wants. Yeah, disappointed that we haven’t got the win.

“I thought the performance was very good and we deserved to win the game.

“They bend the lines sometimes don’t they to make it offside? I’m not sure how they did it, yeah I’ve seen it before but not just that goal, our overall performance, the chances we created, we deserved to win, I thought from start to finish we were the better team. Everton will be the happier with the draw.”

Liverpool had suffered a 7-2 defeat to Aston Villa in their last Premier League outing, so Henderson is happy to have shaken that result from the Reds’ system and put another platform in place on which to build.

The England international said: “I had full confidence we would react in the right way and today we reacted very well. We knew it would be an intense game, Everton are doing so well at the moment.

“We knew it would be a good game, intense but I thought we did enough to win the game. But there’s still positives going into the next game.

“The result at [Aston] Villa woke us up a bit certainly, it was a bad game overall, we all know that.

“After that it’s about the reaction and I thought the boys reacted really well. That’s all you can ask, to give everything, especially in a derby.

“Playing the way we did, some of the football, the chances we created, we defended well with intensity.

“Very happy with the performance. Disappointed we didn’t get the three points but we move on and go again.

“We take it by each game. The next game is the biggest game and this was our biggest game today. Ajax is our next biggest game.

“We’ll not look forward too far, we always concentrate on what’s important and that’s the next game.”

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