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After Left Back “Experience,” Joe Gomez Happy to be Back in the Middle

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After starting the season out of position on the left, Joe Gomez is happy to be getting chances in the heart of defence. He is expected to start tonight against FC Sion.

Romain Perrocheau/Getty Images

An impressive pre-season gave Joe Gomez the chance to start the season at left back for Liverpool. The talent and promise of the 18-year-old was clear, but at times it was also clear he was a young, right-footed centre half being played out of position. Still, there was enough there for fans to get excited about the prospect of Gomez as a name for the future.

He finally got his chance to play centrally against Bordeaux two weeks ago, and Liverpool's league priorities and that they are expected to stick with three at the back for the foreseeable future mean he's expected to get another chance there against FC Sion. It's an opportunity he relishes, as just like the fans, Gomez sees a role as a ball-playing centre half being the one he's best suited for.

"It was a good experience for me, playing in my natural position against Bordeaux," said the 18-year-old, who is set to head off with England's U21s again next week after getting his first call-up in September. "I enjoyed being in the centre and being able to play from there. It was a shame we couldn't hold on for the three points, but a point away from home wasn't a bad result."

On paper at least, a draw away against the toughest side in their Europa League group is hardly a terrible result. However, it does make it more important Liverpool now take maximum points in the games where they will be unquestionable favourites—like at home against a mid-table Swiss side in poor form. For Gomez, though, the main concern will be making sure he puts in another strong individual performance.

"Every game is an opportunity to prove myself and to try to get back in the team," said the young centre half. "I see myself as a ball-playing centre-back, and I'm sure that's what the manager wants to see from me after bringing me to the club. Playing in this formation gives me an opportunity to get on the ball and just play and circulate it. Hopefully I can bring that to the team.

"It was challenging playing those games before at left back, but I learned a lot and I think that experience will help me when it comes to playing in the middle. Coming into the club, I was just so happy to play. It's great having a manager who gives young players a chance. I haven't been starting the past few games, but I'm still watching and learning and trying to develop as a player."