International break! Is there any phrase more thrilling to the human soul?
If you’re thinking about international football at all during the periods when the club season pauses for players to represent their countries, it’s probably for one of two reasons: either you’re extremely bored with no Liverpool games to watch, or somebody picked up an injury. And like clockwork, after Jürgen Klopp’s side were able to manage the fitness of the squad well enough to avoid a significant number of outlays nearly all season, the loss of control over players to their nations brings a familiar sight.
This time, it’s Joe Gomez who gets to be the victim at the hands of this curse, with the England international pulling up within minutes of the Three Lions’ friendly against the Netherlands. While there was initial optimism that the injury was not too serious, the Liverpool official site tells us that Gomez has now returned to Liverpool for treatment, thus ruling him out of England’s friendly against Italy on Tuesday. The severity of the injury, and thus the length of time for which he will be absent, is not yet known.
This is all the more frustrating considering the excellent progress Gomez has made during this season. The young defender has performed superbly in an unfavored right back role, and was surely neck and neck with Trent Alexander-Arnold to start against Manchester City in the Champions League quarter final tie. We have no idea how far away Nathaniel Clyne is from being ready to start a first team game, so for now it seems Alexander-Arnold is the sole recognised right back available to play in the squad. While the young Liverpudlian has looked assured and comfortable in the role, it is clear he is still capable of mistakes at only 19 years of age. The loss to Manchester United showed that he is vulnerable to leaving too much space between himself and the centre backs, and subsequently Watford clearly targeted that area of the pitch, though Alexander Arnold dealt with things better on that day.
The international break will be over soon, we promise.