Van Dijk's tackle on Mertens worthy of red card – Ancelotti

Virgil van Dijk's tackle on Dries Mertens in Liverpool's win over Napoli was deemed worthy of a red card by Carlo Ancelotti.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk   -  Getty Images

Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti bemoaned the lack of VAR having felt Virgil van Dijk should have been sent off for his challenge on Dries Mertens in Liverpool's qualification-clinching win at Anfield.

Netherlands captain Van Dijk was booked in the 13th minute of the Reds' 1-0 victory when his studs caught Mertens' ankle after he swept the ball away in a slide tackle.

Van Dijk claimed he had won the ball cleanly but Ancelotti argued he was fortunate to remain on the pitch.

"I've seen it on the video, I think it was a red card," the Italian said.

"There were a lot of questions about VAR. When VAR comes in to the Champions League, it's too late."

Mohamed Salah's first-half goal sent Liverpool through at the expense of Napoli, who had to settle for a place in the Europa League despite accruing nine points in their Champions League group.

A draw on Tuesday would have been enough to seal Champions League progression for Napoli, who beat Liverpool in the return fixture, but Arkadiusz Milik was denied a late leveller as Alisson stood up tall to deny him from close range.

"We knew that Liverpool would put us under a lot more pressure, they were very aggressive," added Ancelotti.

"It was something we planned for, we knew the intensity was going to be a lot different from the first game we played. That was something we had to try and cope with.

"You can't expect to come to a place like Liverpool and expect to create 10 really good chances, we created one or two and didn't have the luck that we needed."