Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand believes Fabinho has the quality to be an adequate replacement for the injured Virgil van Dijk but reckons the pressure of replacing the Dutchman could be a problem.

Van Dijk has been ruled out until next year after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the 2-2 draw with Everton on Saturday.

The 29-year-old is considered to be the best central defender in the world and his absence is a huge blow to Liverpool.

In his absence, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will rely on Fabinho, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip to keep alive their hopes of success domestically and in Europe.

Fabinho was top class against Ajax

On Wednesday night, Fabinho played alongside Gomez in Liverpool's Champions League opener against Ajax.

And the defensive midfielder was outstanding at the back and produced an excellent goal-line clearance to deny the Dutch side.

Speaking on BT Sport, Ferdinand hailed Fabinho but said the Brazilian will be under significant pressure along with Gomez.

He said: "This guy is a top operator. He played at right-back when he was at Monaco. He knows how to defend.

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"But he will be judged over the course of the season, not a couple of sporadic performances at centre-back. And now he's got the opportunity to play there for a sustained amount of time and he's going to have to show it on a consistent basis.

"First half he made one or two of those types of challenges on the edge of the box to quash attacks and he had read the game really well today.

"It's about him and Gomez getting a partnership."

"The problem that he's got is that he's filling the boots of one of the best, if not the best, defender in the world at the moment. It's huge pressure.

"Not only for him but for Gomez as well. He's a natural defender he's going to be looked at and expected to lead that back four now. Can he do it?"

"What helps him is they're not playing that really crazy offside rule.

"If they step back and give him that bit of time to assess and see things, rather than be on the front foot, he's got a better chance of showing real quality."