Joel Matip and Joe Gomez could now become Liverpool’s first-choice pairing at centre-back from now on.

They are Liverpool’s only natural senior centre-halves but Fabinho can also be deployed at the heart of the back-line while Nat Phillips and Billy Koumetio may now hope to get minutes this term.

Liverpool have stressed that any return date for Van Dijk will depend on the success of his rehab and hope his determined attitude and past fitness record will aid his recovery.

Only after he goes under the knife next week, once swelling has subsided, will a specialist be able to give a better idea of the time the defender will be away from the pitch for.

He is first set to undergo a programme to prepare the knee joint for the delicate operation, which is designed to completely restructure the area.

Without him, Liverpool’s chances of Premier League and Champions League success are sure to be scrutinised.

Even with Van Dijk, Jurgen Klopp’s side have conceded 13 times in just five league games so far this season. By contrast, they conceded only 33 times in 38 games last term and 22 in 38 the year before that.

And Matip’s regular injury problems during his time at Anfield will be a further concern for Klopp given his team’s aspirations of winning more major honours.

Liverpool have meanwhile requested that the Premier League review the use of VAR in the derby after the decision not to dismiss Pickford and the decision to cancel out a late Jordan Henderson goal that would have sealed a 3-2 win for the away team.

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source: express.co.uk

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