Ancelotti: Van Dijk deserved red for Mertens tackle

Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti believes VAR would have shown Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk a red card for his challenge on Dries Mertens in their key Champions League encounter on Tuesday.

Van Dijk was shown just a yellow for his first-half tackle, with Liverpool going on to edge Napoli 1-0 and qualify for the next round at the Italian club’s expense.

The booking means Van Dijk will miss the first game of the knockout phase in January, but Ancelotti was left bemoaning the lack of VAR with Napoli now set for Europa League football in the New Year.

“From the video it is a red card. There are a lot of questions about VAR but when VAR comes in the Champions League it will be too late,” Ancelotti said.

Virgil van Dijk has praised goalkeeper Alisson after he produced an amazing save to help Liverpool beat Napoli 1-0 and qualify for the next round of the Champions League. But despite the loss, Ancelotti insisted Napoli have no regrets, and hopes his team get more luck in the Europa League.

“We have gone very close but we have no regrets. That’s what I said to the players,” he added.

“I don’t think they should have any regrets. It would have been a wonderful achievement to qualify from a really difficult group and many people didn’t think we would take it this far.

“We lacked luck at times. Hopefully we will get some of that luck in the Europa League.

“We knew Liverpool were going to put us under a lot more pressure. We expected that. They were more aggressive. We knew the intensity would be a lot different to the first game too. It was something we had to cope with.

“You can’t expect to come to a place like Liverpool and create 10 chances. We created two good ones but didn’t have the luck we needed to put them in the back of the net.”

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