Merseyside Police investigate offensive tweets aimed at two Everton players

Probe comes after Saturday's Merseyside derby, in which Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk was injured and Richarlison was sent off

Goodison Park

Merseyside Police are investigating a number of offensive posts on Twitter aimed at two Everton players.

The investigation comes after last weekend's incident-packed Merseyside derby, which saw Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk injured during a collision with Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Van Dijk is set to undergo knee surgery after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage, while Pickford - whose challenge was deemed not worthy of a red card - has escaped FA disciplinary action.

Everton forward Richarlison was also sent off late in the 2-2 draw for a wild challenge on Thiago.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Everton's draw with Liverpool in the Premier League.

In a statement, a Merseyside Police spokesperson said: "We are currently investigating a number of offensive Tweets made in relation to two Everton footballers.

"The language used in the Tweets is totally unacceptable and we are taking the reports extremely seriously.

"Those who use the internet to target others, and who commit criminal offences such as making threats or committing a hate crime in doing so, are not beyond the law.

"Detectives are making enquiries to identify the individuals who posted the Tweets and where we identify offences we will take action to bring those responsible to justice."

Sky Sports unites against online hate and abuse: 'It has to stop'

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This is the message from Sky Sports presenters and reporters, who have united in supporting a new campaign aimed at raising awareness of online hate and abuse on social media.

Presenters from football, boxing, F1, basketball, Sky Sports News and horse racing are among those who are sharing their own experiences to highlight the extent of this abuse on digital and social sites and the damage it can cause.

In a video produced by Sky, the presenters are united in saying 'enough is enough' and that it's time for the hate to stop and for everyone to be able to enjoy sport.

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Sky Sports is committed to inspiring change and to help tackle online hate.

If you see a reply to Sky Sports posts and/or content with an expression of hate on the basis of race, colour, gender, nationality, ethnicity, disability, religion, sexuality, age or class, please copy the URL to the hateful post or screengrab it and email againstonlinehate@skysports.com

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