Jurgen Klopp has explained why Liverpool might not miss Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool's worst fears have been confirmed with Virgil van Dijk facing knee surgery to repair damage suffered in the Merseyside derby.

The inspirational Dutch defender damaged his ACL in a tackle from Jordan Pickford early on and will now undergo surgery after scans revealed the extent of the injury.

It leaves him facing a battle to play again this season and Klopp needing to consider his options to replace the imperious centre-back, who transformed their defence after his arrival from Southampton.

Van Dijk has been a mainstay in the Reds side, barely missing a minute in Premier League and Champions League games since his arrival.

But the Reds kept a clean sheet against Bayern Munich when he was suspended for a Champions League game last February.

After that game, Klopp explained how Liverpool were able to ensure they did not miss Van Dijk as much as expected, with Fabinho dropping in to fill the void.

And he will hope the same applies with his team defending from the front and as a unit to ensure they cope with life without Van Dijk over the coming months.

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Liverpool got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds.

In terms of transfers the Reds have completed the signing of Thiago Alcantara and Wolves' Diogo Jota has arrived too, in a shock deal worth a potential £45million.

Youngster Ki-Jana Hoever is set to head to Wolves in a £10million deal, while Gini Wijnaldum continues to be linked with Barcelona. There's a lot to keep track of.

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Asked how important the return of Van Dijk was after suspension last February, Klopp said: When asked how important it was to have Van Dijk back, Klopp said: "Very. Like he always is.

"But the most important thing is that we didn't miss him as much as a lot of people expected us to because we defend as a unit.

"Of course it is really good to have him back. It is the first time in weeks that we have to make a choice between midfielders, full-backs and even centre-backs if you think about Fabinho.

"It is great to have him [Fabinho] as an option for both positions. His natural position is in midfield but because he can play at centre-half it makes him an unbelievably valuable player for us."

Joe Gomez replaced Van Dijk against Everton, partnering Joel Matip after his return from injury.

But Klopp's failure to replace Dejan Lovren leaves them thin on the ground after Van Dijk's injury misfortune.

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