Virgil van Dijk was sent off during Liverpool’s 2-1 win at Newcastle United at St James’ Park.

Audio relating to the decision-making process behind Virgil van Dijk’s red card during Liverpool’s win at Newcastle United was last night made public.

The Reds’ captain was controversially dismissed during the first half of the 2-1 win achieved by Jurgen Klopp’s side at St James’ Park after fouling Aleksander Isak on the edge of the penalty area.

Van Dijk could not believe the decision of referee John Brooks to send him off, though this incident was checked and cleared by Stuart Attwell on VAR.

Liverpool’s No.4 served his one-match ban for his challenge at the weekend, missing out on the 3-0 victory versus Aston Villa, though could see his suspension upgraded to two games after being charge with an FA breach.

Insight into how the match officials arrived at the decision to dismiss Van Dijk was light night shown on Sky Sports’ “Match Officials: Mic’d Up”, hosted by Michael Owen and featuring Howard Webb. During the programme, six contentious calls from the current campaign were discussed to clear up.

Focusing in on Van Dijk, Attwell began the conversation on VAR by saying: “APP (Attacking Possession Phase). Possible offside. Possible DOGSO (denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity).

Referee Brooks can then be heard responding to this by saying: “It’s outside [the box], outside, outside. And it’s a red card. He’s through and he’s gone through the man, red card.

The next stage of dialogue between Attwell and Brooks continues: VAR: “Delay, delay. Just checking mate.”

Brooks: “No. He comes through the man. He comes through the man, through the man to play the ball.”

VAR: “OK, can you shift it? Have you got another angle on point of contact, please. OK, it’s a clear foul. Brooksy, it’s Stuart, I’m happy with the foul. I’m just going to check sanction and APP, standby. Ok, so I’m happy with that being… .freeze it there, freeze it there. OK, so the ball’s going to roll across the front of him. Without the moving challenge, the attacker’s got position. He’s moving directly into the penalty area, that’s fine.”

Brooks can then be heard speaking directly to Van Dijk, telling the defender: “They will check [the decision]. And he’s not, he’s going inside. They will check, they will check. Just wait! I will tell you if you need to go and you need to go immediately. It’s clearly a foul, they have just checked the location. Don’t do anything silly. Listen you will be sent off, unless he [Isak] is offside. It is very, very tight.”

After VAR confirm they are happy to stand by the on-field call, Brooks delivers the following parting words to the Dutch international: “Free-kick. Go, go! Go now. Yes, no offside.”

Sharing his take on why Brooks was right to brandish a red card, Webb told Owen: “We think it is a good communication of a foul by John Brooks and we see in the end Van Dijk does play the ball but, to get there, he clearly kicks through the foot of Isak and it denies a goalscoring opportunity.

“He is close to goal, he is going to be able to control the ball quite easily and there are no covering defenders. And, of course, we know the direction is towards the goal. It’s a DOGSO.

“Van Dijk is not protected by the fact that if that had happened in the penalty area it would have been a yellow card for an attempt to play the ball or challenge for the ball. It’s outside the penalty area so therefore it still has to be a red card for DOGSO.

“When that happens outside the penalty area, even if the defender is trying to play the ball, which van Dijk was, the fact he committed a foul means he has to be sent off in this circumstance. It’s quite a clear situation.”


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