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Roy Hodgson blasts Virgil van Dijk on TNT Sports and calls Ayew red "unbelievably harsh"

Published: Updated: 14:00, 11 Dec 2023
Liverpool came from behind to outdone Crystal Palace in the dying minutes of the game

In a surprising turn of events during the recent Crystal Palace vs Liverpool clash, Jordan Ayew was shown his marching orders in the 75th minute. This unexpected decision came after Ayew was given a second yellow card for challenging Harvey Elliott. At this point, Palace were leading with a scoreline of 1-0. However, within just one minute post-Ayew's departure, the game levelled at 1-1 and by full-time, Liverpool had turned it around to win at 2-1.

The red card incident proved to be a significant turning point in the match dynamics. It not only flipped the game on its head but also sparked controversy off-field with Roy Hodgson expressing his displeasure over going down to ten men.

Hodgson did not mince words while talking on TNT Sports post-match show, he criticized Virgil van Dijk for what he perceived as an attempt to get Ayew a yellow card. He expressed that Van Dijk should be above such tactics.

Roy Hodgson, Manager of Crystal Palace, said:

“I think having to play the game with 10 men for the last 15-20 minutes was unbelievably harsh on us, I don’t believe it was worthy. I don’t think we deserved nine yellow cards, I probably deserved mine.

“He’s [Ayew] been on four yellow cards for three games, he’s shown incredible discipline. Van Dijk took the opportunity to get him the first yellow card by kicking the ball against him from a few yards away. That’s very disappointing.

“I think if you’re Liverpool, you do not need players of Van Dijk’s quality and status in the game trying to get a player a yellow card for kicking the ball against him. The second [yellow] I thought was a good challenge. Even if it was deemed a foul, which it could be, it wasn’t a yellow card.”

The dismissal of Jordan Ayew changed the dynamic of the match and put Liverpool in the driver's seat

However, if we examine both incidents leading up to Ayew’s second yellow card independently, they seem textbook examples of football strategy. Jurgen Klopp has recently voiced his desire for his team to tap into more 'dark arts' - strategic moves that may push boundaries but are within rules - which is exactly what Van Dijk did.

It is worth noting that as captain of Liverpool, Van Dijk was well within his rights trying to play the ball while Ayew knowingly obstructed him.

Hodgson’s frustration did not subside even during his post-match press conference where he reiterated his disagreement with Ayew's sending off in “every respect.” Under immense pressure following this loss, Hodgson expressed his disillusionment with the officiating.

Interestingly, Crystal Palace manager Hodgson's criticism was particularly directed at Van Dijk. This could be seen as a reflection of the high stakes and intense emotions that often accompany such pivotal matches.

While it is understandable for Hodgson to express frustration over the game's outcome, it is also essential to remember that football is a strategic sport where every player has the right to use their skills within the rules of the game.

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