Virgil van Dijk has already hinted at the Liverpool teammate who could replace him in defense.

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The club confirmed that the Dutchman will be operated on after suffering ACL damage during Saturday’s Merseyside derby following an unpunished challenge from Jordan Pickford.

Liverpool must find new solutions to the defensive puzzle after Virgil van Dijk’s serious injury.

The Dutchman could miss the rest of the season after surgery on a knee injury.

Van Dijk himself, however, has already spoken about the ability of a teammate to play as a defender.

After selling Dejan Lovren to Zenit St. Petersburg and deciding not to hire a substitute player, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, who both had their own injury problems, are the only senior Liverpool team left as central defenders.

Liverpool have yet to set a timetable for Van Dijk’s return to the national team, but it is plausible that the defender could miss the rest of the 2020/21 Premier League season.

“Excellent,” Van Dijk said after the game at Fabinho’s appearance against Chelsea.

Fabinho stood out at the start of the season with a man-on-man performance when he came into the back four rows at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea.

“Everyone knows how good he is, but it also shows that we need everyone. We’re a bit unlucky with injuries now, but we need everyone back because it’s such a long season.

“I’ve also just told him that he’s the man of the game. Keeping a striker like [Timo] Werner out and not letting him score goals was excellent overall.

Given the many opportunities Liverpool have in midfield after signing Thiago Alcantara, Fabinho could provide an important solution to the Liverpoolers’ injury concerns.

Henderson is a more direct replacement for Fabinho, while Thiago showed last season at Bayern Munich that he can also play as a “six” in the ball game.

Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita and Gini Wijnaldum started in midfield when Fabinho was in defense, while Thiago came into play at halftime.

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