Joe Gomez looked one of England’s most promising young defenders, at least for the six games or so following his arrival at Anfield from Charlton Athletic in the summer of 2015. Then he suffered a season-ending ACL injury. A year and a half later, he’s still spending more time on the sidelines than playing football.
With options a the back thin, though, with Dejan Lovren’s ongoing injury concerns and the January expulsion of Mamadou Sakho, he’s holding out hope that a chance to re-stake his claim could be drawing near. And when it comes, if it comes, it’s up to him to be ready and able to take it.
“I’ve had the chance to get a lot of minutes now,” Gomez told the club’s official website, pointing to his recent regular run-outs with the reserves as a sign he’s well on his way to fully recovering from that torn ACL. “It’s important that I keep building. You can always keep learning and it’s good for me to keep getting minutes
“I feel very good. I feel like I’m learning and finding myself each game. It’s good to get some minutes; it’s a great experience for me and good to come into such a strong team and be able to play a part. It’s important that I come into every game and keep getting into good habits and doing my best.”
Now it’s just a question of staying ready and waiting for his chance. If it were to come against Arsenal in Saturday’s late afternoon kickoff, nobody could say they were overly surprised by it—or that Gomez hasn’t been doing all he can to be sure he’s ready for his chance.