Liverpool’s stand-in centre-back Fabinho says he can only partially fillthe void left by Virgil van Dijk after his long-term injury.

Adrian, himself currently standing in for the injured Alisson in goal, admitted it felt ‘strange’ playing behind a Liverpool defence not marshalled by the towering Dutchman.

But Jurgen Klopp’s side held firm in Amsterdam on Wednesday, Fabinho impressing alongside Joe Gomez at the back as Liverpool got their Champions League campaign underway with a 1-0 win over Ajax.

“Of course, I am not Virgil – he is the best defender in the world right now,” Fabinho told the Mirror.

“The manager said to me I have to talk more to try and organise the team. Sometimes I have to get the second balls and be ready to press. In this role, I must try to do my best.

“When I knew Virgil was out for a long time, I was shocked because first of all, he is the best defender in the world right now. But most of all, he is a leader in the team and in the dressing room.

“He also makes sure the mood is good – a good atmosphere – and we will miss this. But I have got to do a little of what Virgil always does. I must try to organise the team. To talk to the team and try to be a leader.

“Tactically, at centre back, I have to always be ready for the long balls. But I will do my best and it was very important for me and the team to keep a clean sheet here.”

With Van Dijk potentially out for the rest of the season, plenty have tipped Liverpool to take the opportunity to sign a new defender in the January transfer window – both as cover and as a long-term partner for the Dutchman when he returns.

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