The incident occurred during the Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park over the weekend.
Everton arrived at the game hoping to maintain their position at the top of the Premier League table. Liverpool, hurt by the 2-7 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa, were hoping to provide some respite to fans with a Derby win.
The reigning Champions started the game strong. However, a couple of minutes into the game, Pickford crashed into van Dijk, injuring Liverpool's defender. This would've have warranted a red card from VAR had the Dutchman not been offside.
Van Dijk was not fit enough to continue and the Reds went on to draw the game, 2-2 against their rivals.
Liverpool later revealed that the Dutchman would require surgery and months to recover after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury
While it prompted fans to spew hate towards Everton goalkeeper Pickford, the Toffees boss insists that the reactions his player has received are quite harsh.
Ancelotti revealed that the Everton player is sad for the Liverpool defender
The Englishman was accused of targeting the Dutch footballer but the Italian rubbished those allegations against the Everton man, pointing out that such accusations were “too much.”
Speaking to the club website, Ancelotti wished the Liverpool defender a speedy recovery.
To be clear, we are really sorry for the injury of Virgil van Dijk. Every one of us hopes he can recover soon and well.
The Italian then went on to say that the injury occurred due to unfortunate, mistimed contact. He also stated that the Everton goalkeeper wanted to grasp the ball and injuring the Dutchman was never his plan.
There was this contact with Jordan Pickford: it was mistimed contact. But the fact the Premier League is so fast, it is not so difficult to arrive a little bit later. Jordan arrived a little bit later but his intention was to try to reach the ball. It was not to hurt Virgil van Dijk.
It was a strong contact, maybe mistimed, but sometimes in football it can happen.
Ancelotti believes that the Liverpool's defender is well aware of Pickford's intentions and he truly never wanted to hurt him. He also revealed that the Everton player is 'really sad' about the whole incident.
To say it was premeditated, and this and that, in my opinion, is too much. Virgil van Dijk knows this. Jordan is really sad, really disappointed (that he is injured).
Liverpool is now worried that van Dijk could miss the entire campaign, as there’s no clarity on his return yet.
The Reds have also omitted the Dutchman from their 25-man Premier League shortlist and might be tempted to sign a defender in January to ensure their season stays on track.Published 23 Oct 2020, 01:50 IST