Ancelotti reveals Pickford is 'really sad' over Van Dijk hack – as Everton boss reveals Dutchman injured James Rodriguez

CARLO ANCELOTTI revealed Jordan Pickford is 'really sad' after injuring Liverpool's Virgil Van Dijk – and at the same time let slip the Dutchman left James Rodriguez crocked.

The Everton boss, 61, had his say on the England No1's 'mistimed' horror challenge that left Van Dijk needing surgery and facing months out with an ACL blow.

Liverpool's centre-back was forced off in the first-half of Saturday's feisty 2-2 Merseyside derby draw and will be out for so long that the club have left him out of their 25-man Premier League squad amid fears he may not return the same player.

Pickford escaped a red card because VAR 'did not know' they could give him his marching orders with Van Dijk ruled offside in the build-up.

Ancelotti apologised for Van Dijk's injury but slammed talk Pickford's lunge was 'premeditated'.

He told Everton's website: "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.

"There was this contact with Jordan Pickford: it was mistimed contact.

To say it was premeditated, is too much. Virgil van Dijk knows this."

"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. 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].

"It was a strong contact, maybe mistimed, but sometimes in football, it can happen."

Ancelotti also revealed midfielder Rodriguez is expected to miss Sunday's Premier League game away at Southampton after picking up a knock in a challenge with Van Dijk.

He added: "Unfortunately, James had a problem during the game [against Liverpool].

"He had a mistimed tackle with Virgil van Dijk at the beginning of the game and I think he will not be available for the game against Southampton."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said the Reds will wait for Van Dijk to return from injury 'like a good wife when her husband is in jail'.

Joe Gomez has been tipped to step up into the void by Danny Higginbotham.

And Liverpool could renew interest in Brighton defender Ben White in January but SunSport revealed the Seagulls would demand a £50million fee for the23-year-old.

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