Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk plays down tunnel bust-up with Arsenals Sokratis

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Van Dijk clashed with Sokratis at half-time (Picture: Getty)

Virgil van Dijk insists he will always be entitled defend his team-mates after getting into a minor bust-up with Arsenal defender Sokratis during Liverpools clash with Arsenal on Saturday.

Sokratis was confronting Mohamed Salah in the tunnel at half-time after the Liverpool star won a penalty to ensure Arsenal trailed 4-1 at the break.

Arsenals players accused Salah of diving and Sokratis was still having a go at the forward when Van Dijk stepped in.

Gini, Van Dijk, Hendo and even the staffs jumped in when Sokratis tried to have a go at Salah. And that death stare from Lovren hahahaha

Love how defensive this team is when someone tried to cari pasal with their teammate ?

— Syzahmd (@syaza_hamid_) December 30, 2018

Sokratis and Van Dijk were pulled apart from one another, but the Reds centre-back played down the incident.

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I saw that he went to Mo (Salah) and was saying that he dived, Van Dijk said.

He was attacking him a bit, but I wanted to say he didnt dive.

Sokratis brought Salah down and gave away a penalty (Picture: Getty)

Obviously everyone came around us and it looked like we were fighting or something but we werent. I just wanted to talk to him. But that happens in football and we move on.

He added: Im protecting my team-mates and thats normal, thats how everyone should react and thats what we all need to do, to back each other. Thats what I definitely do.

It is the second game in a row Salah has been accused of going down too easily under a challenge in the box, but Jurgen Klopp denied the Egyptian was guilty of any kind of simulation.

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I havent seen it back [with Sokratis] and I have no clue about what happened around it, but the ref really was close to it, Klopp said.

We dont have divers and that was not a dive. The other one is not a dive. The ref decides it.

In the three and a half years, we have had more penalties not given when they were penalties and you think, Hmph, hmph, hmph.

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Salah has faced criticism of diving (Picture: Getty)

One of the few things I read in the English press is the Refwatch on Sky after the game. Not a lot of times have I thought, That was a penalty, and then looked at it to find it was not the right decision. Ah, good decision.

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[Former referee] Dermot Gallagher said [after Newcastle] penalty. His [Dummetts] arm was there. Do we need blood for a proper penalty? I think no.

In that moment, if you dont touch Mo and he makes the next step and shoots – and we know hes pretty good at that… these are the situations.

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