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Fabinho dubbed ‘best after Virgil van Dijk’ following epic goalline clearance

Fabinho proved against Ajax he can do a job at centre-half for Liverpool this season with Virgil van Dijk out injured.

A glorious first-half goalline clearance kept the Reds in the lead in Amsterdam.

Ajax looked destined to score when Dusan Tadic lifted the ball over goalkeeper Adrian, who was deputising for also injured Alisson.

But versatile midfielder Fabinho, who was playing centre-half alongside Joe Gomez, somehow got there to hook the ball clear.

Liverpool fans were quick to hail the Brazilian on social media.

One posted on Twitter: "Play him CB all the time please."

Another added: "Best CB in the world after Virgil."

A third put: "Just make him there permanent."

Even a Chelsea fan commented: "Lol I'm a Chelsea fan, and when I saw Fabinho play at CB against us I thought he could start a brilliant partnership with Van Dijk but everyone called me crazy…"

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The Reds were also missing Thiago Alcantara in the middle of the park against Ajax, meaning James Milner and Curtis Jones got the nod.

It leaves Liverpool bare going into the winter period.

On Liverpool’s injuries, Klopp said before kick off tonight: "We don't think about it but are constantly then asked about it so it's then difficult not to think about it.

“But when we are alone we just focus on the way it always is.

“Depending on the quality of players you miss it's always like this.

“Then you focus on the players you have available and that's all you can do.

"Football depends on the quality of individual players but not as much as people might think.

“It's all about perception. You might think certain situations with Van Dijk might be different, yeah, you cannot change that. We don't think like this."

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FA view on Jordan Pickford explained as Virgil Van Dijk tackle to go unpunished

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford will not face any disciplinary action over his challenge on Virgil van Dijk in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool.

Pickford avoided a red card in the Merseyside derby despite producing a horror tackle on Van Dijk, who could now be set to spend up to eight months on the sidelines with an ACL injury.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp was left fuming with the incident, saying; “It was a… what can I say? Find the word… I don’t want to say Jordan Pickford wanted to do it but it is of course not a challenge how a goalie can do it in the box because there is another player.”

But according to The Athletic, Pickford will not be facing any disciplinary action from the FA.

It is believed the FA’s policy is to only issue retrospective action for red-card offences which are not picked up by match officials at the time.

And due to the fact VAR reviewed the incident and did not deem it worthy of a sending off, Pickford will escape any punishment from the governing body.

Pickford’s challenge was not the only controversial moment of the match, with Liverpool also denied a last-gasp winner by VAR.

Jordan Henderson turned in what he thought was the decisive strike in stoppage time, only for Sadio Mane to have been deemed offside in the build-up after consultation with the video assistant.

After the draw, Klopp could not understand why the goal was ruled out when replays appeared to show that Mane’s arm was in a marginally offside position.

The Liverpool manager said: “In the dressing room people are stood around the laptop and I ask, ‘What’s wrong?’ and they say, ‘We’ve watched the situation back and we don’t understand why they say it’s offside’.

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“Look, I’m a real supporter of VAR but then you’d expect, especially with offside, that you’d get the right decision. We scored a goal one time at Aston Villa and they said the arm pit was offside… sounds funny, we got it.

“This time, the picture I saw now, once on the laptop, there’s no armpit, there’s nothing, it’s just not offside. And since then I’ve had 10 interviews, round about, and everyone tells me it was not offside – and that does not lift my mood!”

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Soccer

Virgil van Dijk injury update as Liverpool defender faces ACL surgery

Liverpool have confirmed Vigil van Dijk will have surgery on a knee injury that will sideline him for months.

The Dutch defender spent time with a specialist on Sunday, reviewing scans and deciding on a plan of treatment, for what is understood to be a grade three tear of his anterior cruciate ligament.

That is the worst level, with the ligament torn in half, and the surgery is designed to restructure the ligament.

The average timescale of recovery from such an injury can can be from six to 12 months, but Liverpool are reluctant to put a time-frame on his return.

The club’s doctors will schedule surgery next week, and only after van Dijk has that, will his specialist be able to give a serious estimate of the time the defender must be on the sidelines.

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Club sources stressed it would be wrong to rule out a return to action this season for the resilient Dutchman, because any return date will be dependant on the success of his rehab.

Medics at Anfield point to the player’s exceptional attitude, and his strong fitness record and attitude, which are all significant factors in reducing lay off time.

But it is clear he will not play again until next year, and there is no suggestion from the club at this stage of a real confidence he can play again this season.

The club confirmed van Dijk will undergo surgery in the near future, and boss Jurgen Klopp admitted after the derby draw at Everton it was a real blow to the club.

"It is not good with Virgil, but we will show the response we have shown in all situations,” he said.

Klopp at least has Joel Matip back after missing most of the past six months, and Joe Gomez impressed when replacing van Dijlk at Everton, but he now only has two fit recognised senior centre halves, after selling Dejan Lovren in the summer, though Fabinho has also been used in that position.

It was a bad day for Liverpool, who have reacted with anger after the Premier League gave them what has been described as a ‘confused and contradictory’ response to their questions about the use of VAR on Saturday.

Klopp was angry at the challenge by Jordan Pickford which has put van Dijk out for months, which most refereeing experts have suggested should have resulted in a red card for the Everton keeper.

He was also perplexed by the use of VAR to rule out a late Jordan Henderson winner for offside, when the images seemed to clearly show Sadio Mane was level when he crossed the ball. Liverpool have stressed they respect the integrity of the officials, but will ask the Premier League again for more transparency around how the outcomes of VAR judgements were determined.

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Robertson lifts lid on Liverpool dressing room reaction to Van Dijk injury

The Liverpool dressing room labelled Jordan Pickford's horror tackle on Virgil van Dijk "shocking" during the half-time break.

That's according to Andy Robertson, who admits he never saw the challenge personally, but was left in no doubt of its severity after speaking with his team-mates.

Van Dijk was clattered by Pickford just 10 minutes into the Merseyside derby on Saturday as he competed for a ball in the Everton box.

The Toffees shot-stopper dropped Van Dijk with a thigh-high challenge and was lucky to avoid being sent off following a VAR check.

Van Dijk attempted to play on but was forced to make way moments later, and was replaced by England international Joe Gomez.

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Robertson described the Liverpool dressing room atmosphere at half time, saying: "I never saw it [the challenge]. But the lads at half-time said it was a shocking challenge, so that's two they've done us with."

Van Dijk was taken to hospital following the match to receive treatment on his knee.

He is going for a scan this Sunday to determine how serious the injury is and weather it has the potential to rule him out for the season.

Jurgen Klopp is also still in the dark over the centre-back's injury.

But the German was fearing the worst following the Merseyside derby, which finished 2-2.

"It's not good. Virgil plays with pain but he couldn't play on. Not good," said Klopp. He added: "Pickford kicks him completely. I need to watch it back.

"I've seen the disallowed goal at the end and in the picture I saw it wasn't offside. Can someone explain that to me?"

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Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk deployed as striker in Holland fixture

Frank de Boer’s stuttering start to life as Holland boss continued with a 0-0 draw vs Bosnia.

The former Crystal Palace boss lost his first game in charge, with Raul Jimenez’s penalty handing Mexico a 1-0 friendly win in midweek.

And in his first competitive match, the Dutch could only manage a stalemate in the Nations League fixture.

On a frustrating evening in Zenica. De Boer made the unusual decision to throw Van Dijk up-front for the closing minutes.

Man City defender, Nathan Ake, was brought on with four minutes remaining, signalling the chance for the Liverpool talisman to move forward.

It didn’t work as De Boer watched Ryan Babel miss a gilt-edged chance before the full-time whistle.

De Boer endured a miserable time managing time in the Premier League, losing all four of his games, without scoring a goal.

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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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Van Dijk meanwhile, has come in for criticism for the first time in his stay in English football. Jurgen Klopp’s champions have looked shaky defensively and after conceded a staggering seven times against Aston Villa ast time out, more of the blame is being pointed in his direction.

Arsenal legend Sol Campbell has accused the 29-year-old of complacency and questioned how good he would be in a different era.

He told the Athletic : “I know Van Dijk struggled in the Villa game, but he stands out these days because he’s head and shoulders above everyone else, which makes me wonder if that is hampering him at the same time.

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"He’s the complete player in that position and has made it look easy, but maybe he’s not been challenged enough and then, like a cricketer being done by a slower ball, he’s come unstuck.

"If you’ve not been worrying about forwards troubling you, sometimes you drop your guard a fraction. It’s a natural human thing.

"Maybe that’s seeped in a bit at Liverpool in general. I’m sure Jurgen Klopp will recognise that and get them back on track.

“It would be interesting to see if Van Dijk would have stood out had he been playing in our time when there were lots of great centre-halves: me, John Terry, Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Jamie Carragher, Kolo Toure, Jaap Stam.”

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Campbell says Van Dijk has "come unstuck" as place among greats is questioned

Sol Campbell has called out Virgil van Dijk for potentially becoming complacent and questioned how good he would be in a different era.

The Liverpool centre-half has established himself as the best defender in the game and been crucial to the Reds' success.

But this term the Dutchman has already made errors leading to goals and was part of a back four that shipped seven against Aston Villa.

The 29-year-old has rarely been challenged such has been his and his side's dominance, but Campbell is interested to see whether the blueprint to get the better of Van Dijk and Liverpool has been laid.

He told the Athletic : “I know Van Dijk struggled in the Villa game, but he stands out these days because he’s head and shoulders above everyone else, which makes me wonder if that is hampering him at the same time.

"He’s the complete player in that position and has made it look easy, but maybe he’s not been challenged enough and then, like a cricketer being done by a slower ball, he’s come unstuck.

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"If you’ve not been worrying about forwards troubling you, sometimes you drop your guard a fraction. It’s a natural human thing.

"Maybe that’s seeped in a bit at Liverpool in general. I’m sure Jurgen Klopp will recognise that and get them back on track.

“It would be interesting to see if Van Dijk would have stood out had he been playing in our time when there were lots of great centre-halves: me, John Terry, Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Jamie Carragher, Kolo Toure, Jaap Stam.

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"It’d be interesting to see how he’d fit in with all these guys. And we had Robbie Fowler, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Michael Owen, Alan Shearer, Duncan Ferguson all coming at us in very different ways, not to mention defenders like Matt Elliott, Steve Walsh, Gerry Taggart at Leicester. Big guys flying at you at set plays.

“You had your work cut out. You had to be on it, brave in the air, because if you weren’t they were pounding you.

"They were quick, strong, tall, skillful… every week you got tested. I reckon Van Dijk would be OK, he’d cope with that, but it would be interesting to watch. He’d certainly be under pressure.”

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