Liverpool have had their share of defensive problems this season. Yet rather surprisingly, following the injury to stalwart Nathaniel Clyne, right back hasn’t looked a key problem position for the club, and that’s thanks to the quality play of a pair of youngsters.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, who just turned 18 this week, has done his part by living up to the expectations. Joe Gomez, though, has surprised, impressing despite the fact he’s returning from nearly two seasons spent on the sidelines with a major ACL injury.
“He has been great for someone like me going through an injury like that and then coming back,” said Gomez, crediting manager Jürgen Klopp with getting him back to a point where he can be a regular contributor despite having lost two key development years.
“For him to be able to bed me in and speak to me at the same time has been ideal, and it’s made it a lot easier for me in comparison to how it could have been. He did his ACL previously, so there was that similarity in that he understands what it’s like to go through.
“With him I think it’s about the individual connection—it’s more than just about speaking to you as manager-to-player. There’s an emotional connection there and it makes you want to play for him and for the club. Everyone has such a desire and passion to play for him.”
Gomez has made eight appearances already this season following his two lost years, and given his time on the sidelines—and the promise he showed when first arriving at Anfield—it can be easy to forget that at 20 years of age, he’s nearly as young as Alexander-Arnold.
There are always doubts when players suffer serious ACL injuries, concerns that they will never be as capable afterwards, but Gomez’ career appears fully back on track and the versatile defender is looking forward now to playing a key role for Klopp for a long time.
“I’m thankful for the opportunities that he has been giving me,” he added. “When I was out, he was someone I was always dreaming of playing for, but the timing was difficult and I didn’t get the chance. Now I’m thankful and want to keep taking it in my stride.”