Jürgen Klopp came to Liverpool in October 2015 after Brendan Rodgers’ squad seemed to have stagnated a season after they came close to lifting the Premier League trophy. On his arrival, he took over a squad low in confidence, without their old captain, Steven Gerrard, and a bunch of new signings from the summer of 2014 who had failed to cement a foothold in the team. Add an extensive injury list to that mixture and Klopp found himself an offer for a challenge he couldn’t resist. Since the New Year, Klopp’s side has seen an improvement and the identity of the German’s style has been clear to see in a number of games where Liverpool have impressed. There’s still a long way to go but Klopp’s side are finally starting to look like a team with a future…
However, awaiting Jürgen Klopp this summer is the return of a number of first team players who have missed the majority of the season with long-term injuries. Amongst those is youngster, Joe Gomez, who came to Liverpool in June 2015 from Charlton Athletic in what was a surprising addition for many fans. However, since making his debut on September 9th, the defender notched up 7 appearances, including 7 starts, 2 performances in the Europa League and 4 inclusions in the squad as an unused substitute. He made an impression after producing composed performances in the opening games of the season and was a regular in the Liverpool back four for the first few weeks.
The versatile youngster is a centre-half by trade but was utilised as a left-back for 5 out of his 7 appearances to gain experience and he was even able to record an assist. Gomez possesses composure and assurance when on the ball and his pace gives him a great asset when attacking from a full-back position. It’s clear the defender has quality and he was a refreshing addition at the start of the season whilst his team-mates struggled for form. However, an ACL injury suffered at the start of October put an end to his campaign and since then, a lot has changed at Liverpool.
When Gomez was in the side, Sakho wasn’t being given a chance, Lovren was awful, Benteke was first choice striker and Mignolet was dubbed the league’s worst keeper. Under Rodgers, only Clyne, Ings and Gomez were showing promise from the bunch of new signings brought to transform the Liverpool squad. It’s a different story under Klopp. Everyone was surprised at Sakho’s exclusion but it’s clear now with his performances under Jürgen Klopp that he’s the Reds best centre-half. When Gomez and Sakho were given the opportunity to play alongside each other, it showed signs of promise for the future and with Ilori back at Liverpool as another young centre-half option, there’s hope for the future of their defence.
But since Gomez’s absence, Lovren and Sakho have began to build a strong partnership in the middle of Liverpool’s back four and if they can both remain fit, Liverpool could still have a lot to play for before the season comes to a close. Therefore, Gomez’s opportunity to impress at centre-half may have to wait under Klopp, who seems very happy with his new partnership. The youngster was very impressive at left-back though and looked comfortable in the full-back position against some of the league’s top sides before his injury. With Alberto Moreno struggling to prove consistency, Gomez will no doubt be hoping to push his way back into Klopp’s thoughts in this position and will hope to be considered for the start of the 2016-17 season.
A back four of Clyne, Lovren, Sakho and Gomez sounds very promising – especially given the state of Liverpool’s defence last season. If Mignolet can be replaced, Klopp may have found a solution to protect his side from conceding and Gomez must be considered as part of the German’s plans. At such a young age, the defender was brought as a back-up to Moreno but in a few months, it could be Moreno battling to force his way back into the side if Gomez can return in the manner he finished before his injury. Either way, he’s a player Klopp will be looking forward to seeing return and fans will be intrigued to see his influence under the new boss.
Being out with that kind of injury for virtually a whole season has to be hugely frustrating, especially for a young kid who was just starting out in the no-prisoners premier league, but as long as subconscious fear of suffering a similar injury doesn’t inhibit his physical commitment on return to action Joe Gomez seems to have everything necessary to become a top defender in modern football. With no further issues to hold him back Gomez can be a real asset for both club and country.
Joe Gomez at LB? That’s a disaster, primarily because he, going forward, offered the exact opposite of what you wrote; nothing! Not his fault though. Being primarily right footed, he cannot cross from the wide areas. And he doesn’t have the composure to cut in or play through balls, nor the ability to beat a player,like the Scouse Cafú’ did.
His future is at CB, along with a secondary role at RB.
Don’t forget Flanners & Matip, don’t think Sakho will start next season,will be sub. Lovern & Matip to start. Matip will be new captain as well.
Matip & Sakho = best center half combo in England.