‘He has to control himself’ – Darwin Nunez warned over headbutt by Liverpool team-mate Virgil van Dijk
LIVERPOOL defender Virgil van Dijk has warned Darwin Nunez that he “has to control himself” after the striker was sent off for headbutting Joachim Andersen.
The £85million forward marked his home Premier League debut by nutting the Crystal Palace defender.
And while Van Dijk has insisted he will back Nunez, the defender has advised the ex-Benfica man to be more aware of the kind of incidents that could potentially earn him a red card.
Liverpool are now left without a recognised striker after the Uruguayan forward was given his marching orders.
A mile-long injury list includes backup forward Roberto Firmino, although there is hope he could return to lead the line against Manchester United.
Nunez’s moment of madness has given boss Jurgen Klopp an unwanted headache ahead of the trip to Old Trafford.
Van Dijk admitted Nunez has to “manage himself” better after recently moving to the Prem.
The defender said: “Obviously he was disappointed and also probably with himself but it’s a learning curve and obviously we will always back him.
“He’s got the backing from us and he knows it should not happen again and hopefully it will be that way.
“He has to control himself, definitely. I think that’s a separate thing.
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“He has to manage himself, he has to be knowing that these things can happen, especially in the Premier League.”
Dutchman Van Dijk hopes Nunez will treat the incident as a “learning curve” in order to avoid a repeat incident in the future.
Eagles star Andersen has since received death threats on social media for his role Nunez’s red card.
Van Dijk added: “It will be a learning curve for him and hopefully it will never happen again.”
The Reds already trail rivals Manchester City by four points in the Premier League table.
Klopp’s side could only manage draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace, while City have easily swatted aside both West Ham and Bournemouth.
But Van Dijk is not concerned by the stuttering start to the campaign, with anything possible in the next 36 games.
He said: “We’ve played two games so far this season and there’s still a long way to go so anything can happen. That’s been shown over the last years so we’ll focus on ourselves.
“We don’t read what the others from the outside say about us because nobody knows what’s really going on.
“We worked very hard to try and get three points but unfortunately it didn’t happen. We keep going.”
After falling behind to Palace last night following Wilfried Zaha’s opener, Luis Diaz levelled things up with a stunning strike from the edge of the area.
The equaliser came after Nunez had been sent off, and Van Dijk was proud of how the Red played with a man down.
He continued: “I think with 10 men we played outstanding. We put them under pressure. Obviously we took a lot of risks because we had to score the equaliser and were hoping to get the winner.
“But (playing with 10 men) should not happen. Obviously we’re disappointed to draw and not get the win, for sure.”
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