Liverpool’s first wave of players back for pre-season mainly comprised those who didn’t have international commitments over the summer. It also included Joe Gomez, who could have had a longer break following the Nations League but chose to return early.
He also arrived back early with a target—keeping up with James Milner in the beep test, a stamina-draining challenge to see how long the players can sprint between the cones with shorter and shorter breaks between each interval and at faster and faster speeds.
“You go until you can’t go anymore,” said Gomez, who eventually finished second to Milner. “Everyone knows how fit Millie is, he’s a machine, but I tried to do as much as I could in the off-season to come back as fit as possible. It’s nice to be up there with him.”
It speaks to the seriousness with which Gomez is approaching this pre-season, looking to make up for the lost time caused by injuries last year and to lock down a starting centre half job alongside Virgil van Dijk at the back heading into the 2019-20 campaign.
More than that, though, Gomez wants to follow up victory in the Champions League last year by ending what as of this season will be a three decade drought for the Reds in the English top flight—he wants to end the drought and win the Premier League.
“We can be happy and proud of the achievement but we’ve got so much more work to do and so many ways to improve as well,” the young defender added. “The Premier League was so close and I think that’s all the motivation we need, that we were so close.
“It’s something we want to get this year and to do so we can’t get complacent or dwell on what happened last season, we have to hit the ground running again now.”