Virgil van Dijk injury: Ranking the 12 worst tackles in Premier League history


Virgil van Dijk probably won’t play again this season.

On Sunday night, Liverpool confirmed the news that everyone feared - that the Dutchman requires surgery with the club refusing to put any timeframe on his return.

It’s always frustrating when a star player is ruled out for a sustained period of time but there’s anger surrounding Van Dijk’s injury against Everton.

The defender was marginally offside seconds before goalkeeper Jordan Pickford lunged in, causing Van Dijk’s season-ending injury.

It was a horrific tackle but Pickford went unpunished.


Richarlison later produced an equally shocking challenge on Thiago with the Everton man being sent off.

And it got us thinking: What are the worst tackles the Premier League has ever seen?

Well, considering Van Dijk is ruled out for the season, we’re putting Pickford’s challenge in the list.

12 | Jordan Pickford on Virgil van Dijk

Van Dijk is probably ruled out for the season thanks to Pickford’s horrendous tackle. The Liverpool defender’s studs were planted as the Everton goalkeeper came lunging in, causing a serious ACL injury. And he wasn’t even punished. To think there are 11 tackles worse than this in the Premier League is a scary thought…

11 | Dan Smith on Abou Diaby

Just a yellow card for this terrible challenge on Arsenal’s Abou Diaby. Arsenal were 3-0 up in injury-time when Smith took his frustrations out on the midfielder. Arsenal threatened legal action over the tackle as Diaby missed the Champions League final defeat to Barcelona two weeks later and was out for eight months. His career never fully recovered.

10 | Lucas Neill on Jamie Carragher

When talking about Pickford’s tackle, Carragher revealed how he’d had his leg broken during his playing career. It was courtesy of a shocking Lucas Neill tackle, who lunged in as Carragher attempted to clear the ball. The Liverpool defender was sidelined for six months.

9 | Ian Wright on Peter Schmeichel

Describing this as a tackle is a bit of a stretch because it’s closer to assault. It’s fair to say Wright and Schmeichel weren’t the best of friends and their rivalry reached a climax in 1997. Wright had been flagged offside but continued with his run before jumping in on the Danish goalkeeper. Incredibly, Wright escaped without being sent off.

8 | Ryan Shawcross on Aaron Ramsey

This infamous tackle left Ramsey out of action for almost two years and created an intense rivalry between the two clubs. Shawcross went on full-blooded on the Welshman but was extremely late, causing a horrific injury.

7 | Michael Brown on Ryan Giggs

It’s no real surprise to see Brown on this list. He was that type of player. As Giggs slid in, Brown stamped two-footed on the Welshman’s knee with the ball rolling out of play. Referee Andre Marriner thought it only deserved a yellow card…

6 | Jamie Carragher on Nani

Carragher also mentioned his tackle on Nani when discussing Pickford on Sunday. This was the definition of a leg-breaking tackle and left the Man Utd man in tears with a huge gash in his shin. Again, it apparently only deserved a yellow card.

5 | Kevin Nolan on Victor Anichebe

Nolan produced a shocking two-footed tackle on the Everton striker, catching him on his knee and ruling him out for 11 months. Anichebe had to undergo two operations after the cartilage in his right knee was damaged. He sued Newcastle for potential loss of earnings.

4 | Callum McManaman on Massadio Haidara

When you catch a player on the thigh with your studs, you know it’s a terrible tackle. Referee Mark Halsey failed to even give a free-kick for McManaman’s tackle, which saw Haïdara leave the pitch on a stretcher. Shocking.

3 | Martin Taylor on Eduardo 

This is probably the worst injury in Premier League history. Eduardo suffered a compound fracture left fibula and an open dislocation of his ankle after Taylor’s strong and late tackle. Eduardo was sidelined for 12 months. Taylor was sent off and served a three-match ban but Arsene Wenger called for a lifetime ban.

2 | Ben Thatcher on Pedro Mendes

Pedro Mendes suffered a sickening head injury after Ben Thatcher’s elbow back in 2006. The Portsmouth midfielder had a seizure, left the pitch unconscious and had to be given oxygen. He sent a week in the hospital, while Thatcher was banned for eight months.

1 | Roy Keane on Alf-Inge Haaland

Without a doubt, the worst tackle in Premier League history. Keane ended the career of Haaland in the Manchester derby back in 2001 - and he meant it. A few years earlier, Haaland had taunted Keane after the Manchester United midfielder suffered a cruciate knee injury. Keane was sent off for his tackle fined around £155,000, while also being banned for eight games.

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