Virgil van Dijk’s injury is bad news for Liverpool. And Peter Crouch thinks Joel Matip and Joe Gomez ‘have mistakes in them’ with the pair now set to start most weeks in the Premier League. Van Dijk is out for the season after being crocked by Jordan Pickford in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Everton at Goodison Park.

Liverpool squandered the lead twice against Everton on Saturday afternoon.

Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah both found the net for Jurgen Klopp’s side but they were pegged back by Michael Keane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, being forced to settle for a point.

The biggest talking point of the match was Van Dijk’s injury, however.

The Netherlands international was forced out of the match at Goodison Park after he was tackled by Pickford, who went right through him.

And Crouch feels that Van Dijk’s injury is a hammer blow for Liverpool, expressing a belief that Matip and Gomez have mistakes in them.

“We have only seen five Premier League games so far but it is not overstating things to say this could have an influence on the title race, given how big Van Dijk is for Liverpool,” the former Reds striker told the Daily Mail.

“With goalkeeper Alisson also out, the timing could not be worse.

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“I like Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, they are both very good centre halves. But they both look like they have an occasional mistake in them and that is not something you ever feel about Van Dijk, who is commanding.

“He’s got to be worth a minimum of 10 points each season to Liverpool.

“Listen, I tipped Liverpool for the title and I wouldn’t desert them now. I still fancy them to retain the trophy, but without Van Dijk, the gap to their pursuers is likely to be much narrower.

“Look at the impact injuries to Aymeric Laporte and Kevin De Bruyne have had on Manchester City in recent seasons; take Harry Kane out of Tottenham’s team and see what happens to them.

“Van Dijk keeps Liverpool moving smoothly along and this is a major test for Jurgen Klopp’s squad.”

Crouch also expressed a belief that Pickford’s wild tackle was indicative of the Everton star’s state of mind.

“I called it a leg-breaker on BT Sport and I haven’t changed my mind,” he said.

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“That was the kind of challenge that can end a career and it gave me an indication of Pickford’s state of mind. He is a keeper whose confidence has evaporated.

“Watch the incident again. There is a moment when Pickford hesitates slightly and takes a step back.

“He then decides to go and his thought is to take everything with him. It has had calamitous consequences and I suspect he will deeply regret it.

“What amazed me was the fact he didn’t get a red card. We see players given three-match bans for shoving opponents in the face with the ferocity of a nine-year-old but a potentially career-ending foul doesn’t get penalised?

“I’m sorry, I can’t work that one out.”

Crouch was also asked what he’d do to improve VAR. Not only did Pickford’s tackle go unchallenged, the Reds also had a late goal chalked off for the narrowest of offsides.

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And he said: “For starters, I would change the handball rule.

“If it’s unintentional, it’s not handball. It’s simple. You have a look at VAR, you see if a player meant it and you decide from there.

“You don’t award penalties like the one Newcastle got against Tottenham.

“You then change offside. None of this nonsense we are seeing. If you are level, you are onside.

“I don’t want to see armpits or little toes or graphs being used to determine what pixel is out of place. If there is clear daylight, a player is offside. If a player is level, the attacker gets the benefit.

“Don’t we want to see more goals? Don’t we want to see excitement? I hate VAR, I hate what football has become with the way it is being interpreted and I am not alone in having such feelings.”

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