The 2018-19 Premier League season is still but a wailing newborn, but Liverpool have cobbled together a rather impressive defensive record during those few weeks. Save for a an error from new signing Alisson (who arguably had been put in a bit of a “situation” by Virgil van Dijk), the Reds’ rearguard had kept everything out of their goal. A good portion of that early success can be attributed to Joe Gomez.
The 21-year-old defender has been called to deputize for Dejan Lovren, who arrived back from the World Cup with a pelvic injury that was expected to keep him out of action for a number of weeks. There might have been concerns, given his youth and the time that he missed due to injury last season, but Gomez has stepped up to the challenge admirably, and has looked comfortable partnering Van Dijk.
Those performance have not gone unnoticed by Gareth Southgate, who called upon Gomez during this most recent round of international friendlies. It now appears Liverpool may be reacting to Gomez’ rise as well. The Mirror has indicated that the club are in talks with Gomez over an improved contract that would increase his wages to a level closer in line with his first team colleagues - this only a year after signing a new contract that went into effect last summer.
The young defender’s ascendancy is a timely one for Liverpool, given Joël Matip’s ongoing injury issues and Lovren’s current absence. Gomez will no doubt be hoping to follow or surpass the trajectory of his compatriot Trent Alexander-Arnold, and fortunately he looks to have the right mix of humility and ambition.
“I’m aware I’m still young but I do want too impose my own ability, but when I play I don’t want to just copy those guys, but you try to learn from different players and see what they do well and try and improve that aspect of my game,” he said, speaking about watching Real Madrid’s defenders in the Champions League final.
“I probably idolize Rio Ferdinand and so on but when it comes down to it, I’m still a defender and I’ve got to enjoy the art of defending. I want to do all I can to inherit both aspects and I’m still learning and I want to study those players and even current ones as well.”