Liverpool traveled to Newcastle yesterday for an early afternoon kickoff after playing Villareal in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final Wednesday evening. It was a short turnaround, so some rotation was necessary.
Jürgen Klopp opted to make five changes from the XI he started on Wednesday. Liverpool have a very deep squad, but it was still a calculated risk against one of the Premier League’s most in-form sides. The risk paid off in the end, and Joe Gomez, who earned a rare start in order to spell Trent Alexander-Arnold, spoke to the Liverpool FC website about the victory.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” admitted Gomez. “It’s a tough place to come, the atmosphere’s unbelievable and obviously they’re under new management and you can see they’ve definitely improved – their results show that.”
“So we knew it wasn’t going to be easy this afternoon and I think we ground out the result. It wasn’t the easiest but we got the three points. I think the clean sheet always gives us the platform to get a goal and the three points. As a unit, we did well and ground it out.”
Gomez may not be a regular starter, but he understands the quality the Reds have and knows the importance of giving the team’s stars a respite whenever possible while still fielding a strong lineup. This is especially true with the second leg against Villareal looming on Tuesday.
“I think attitude amongst the camp to stay at it [as well] – I think there were five changes or so today. Obviously, we’ve got a massive game in midweek and it’s good to be able to allow some of the boys to come into that with fresh legs. It’s only half-time over there, so we know it’s not going to be easy.”