Liverpool’s pre-season friendly against Sevilla on Sunday night was unfortunately overshadowed by an injury suffered by Yasser Larouci in the second half.
The player responsible was Joris Gnagnon, who was deservedly shown a straight red card for his appalling tackle on the 18-year-old.
After evading one challenge, Larouci found his legs swiped from underneath him by Gnagnon’s cynical kick. The youngster was subsequently taken off the pitch on a stretcher.
Jurgen Klopp is optimistic that Larouci’s injury isn’t as bad as first feared; however, that doesn’t excuse the fact that Gnagnon’s actions were out of order.
To challenge any opponent in that manner would be unacceptable, let alone a kid at the beginning of his career. Some people have described the ‘tackle’ as a potential leg-breaker and it’s hard to disagree.
Everybody associated with Liverpool was understandably fuming with Gnagnon, including Larouci’s teammates.
And immediately after full-time, per the Liverpool Echo, Virgil van Dijk spotted Gnagnon on the side of the pitch and confronted him.
Footage from the stands shows Van Dijk leaning over the advertising hoardings, having words with the 22-year-old defender.
Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson then also approached Gnagnon, presumably to give the Frenchman a piece of their mind.
At the same time, members of Sevilla’s playing and coaching staff came in to diffuse the situation.
The Liverpool trio then walked away, shaking hands with other Sevilla players.
Van Dijk, however, made his feelings clear about Gnagnon’s challenge in a post-match interview.
He was quoted as saying by Goal.com’s Neil Jones as saying: “I saw it from the side, it’s not nice.
“Especially when it happens against such a young guy who is playing pretty well this season. I think it says something about him.
“You have to just deal with it, but obviously you don’t want to have injuries in a game like this.
“You want to get fit, you want to get back to your best.
“Obviously everyone wants to win the game, but the most important thing is to get fit. Hopefully for Yasser it is not that bad.”
James Milner, meanwhile, told the Daily Mail’s Dominic King: “You don’t see many red cards in a friendly,” he reflected.
“They said we should have put [the ball] out [for an earlier foul] but it is up to the referee to stop a game.
“If you want to foul, pull a shirt. Don’t take a young lad by the knee. Seeing it again it is a disgrace.”