Steve Nicol was left flabbergasted by the verdict of former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg on Virgil van Dijk’s red card in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Newcastle on Sunday.
The Dutchman was given his marching orders when he felled Alexander Isak just outside the penalty area shortly before the half-hour mark, with match official John Brooks deeming it a denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Debate has since raged as to the correctness of that decision, with ESPN FC host Dan Thomas reading out a text message he received from the one-time English top-flight ref.
Clattenburg was apparently of the view that while he understood Brooks’ thinking, he didn’t see it as a sending off either at the time of the incident or after the game.
When that viewpoint was read aloud, Nicol could only shake his head repeatedly before eventually exclaiming ‘He doesn’t know what he’s talking about’.
It seemed rather surprising that an ex-Liverpool player insisted that Van Dijk was rightly sent off and a Newcastle-supporting former official thought it was the wrong call, but alas here we are.
Whatever you make of the rights or wrongs of Brooks’ decision, the end result for Jurgen Klopp is that he must do without his captain for the next three matches, a huge body blow for the squad amid an otherwise positive start to the season.
You can see Nicol’s reaction to Clattenburg’s verdict below (from 11:20), via ESPN FC on YouTube: