Football Digest: Liverpool start the season strong
Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk has admitted his sending off against Newcastle last month has proved “expensive” after he was fined £100,000 and handed an extra one-match ban by the FA. The 32-year-old is currently on international duty with the Netherlands and captained his country during their 3-0 Euro 2024 qualifying victory over Greece on Thursday.
Van Dijk was given his marching orders just 28 minutes into the clash at St James’ Park after denying Alexander Isak a goalscoring opportunity. The centre-back kicked through the Sweden player before making contact with the ball and then remonstrated with referee John Brooks and the fourth official after being dismissed.
And the centre-back subsequently admitted he acted in an improper manner. “It has been a hard and expensive lesson,” Van Dijk told reporters in a press conference ahead of his country’s encounter with Ireland on Sunday night. “I can’t really say more about it.
“I have accepted it and I am happy that there is an end to it. Hopefully the money goes to the right people. A good cause is always better.” On Friday, an FA statement read: “Virgil van Dijk has been suspended for one match and fined £100,000 for breaching FA Rule E3.1 during Liverpool’s Premier League fixture against Newcastle.
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“The defender admitted that he acted in an improper manner and used abusive and insulting words towards a match official after being sent off in the 29th minute, and the sanctions were subsequently imposed by an independent regulatory commission.”
And the 2019 Champions League winner said on Instagram: “I’d just like to make it clear I totally accept the panel’s decision. It was my first red card of my Liverpool career and I let my frustrations get the better of me in an intense and heated moment. I apologised immediately after the game to the match officials and take full responsibility.”
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Van Dijk missed Liverpool’s Premier League victory over Aston Villa last weekend as the Reds ran out 3-0 winners and is now set to miss his side’s clash with Wolves next weekend. He will then be able to return to top-flight action when the Reds host West Ham on Sunday, September 24.
Liverpool have enjoyed a strong start to the new season after finishing fifth in the Premier League last time around. The Merseyside giants secured a 1-1 draw with Chelsea on the opening weekend of the season before seeing off Bournemouth 3-1 at Anfield a week later. Jurgen Klopp’s side then overcame Newcastle 2-1 before defeating the Villans. And they are currently third in the Premier League table.
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