Last season, the defensive pairing of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez looked the club’s present and future. It still might be the latter, but for now at least there is no question who is first choice alongside Van Dijk—and it’s not Gomez.
Instead, it’s Joël Matip, with the 28-year-old German-Cameroonian centre half’s stellar form making him undroppable at the moment. It’s a frustrating situation for Gomez, but one that the young defender says that he understands.
“I want to be playing, every football player wants to be playing,” he said. “But at the same time, I understand that we’re European champions, I am at a top club, and the lads are doing very well at the minute.
“All I can do is keep my head down, working hard in training and wait for the right time but I’ve just got to keep it up right now. They are doing unbelievably well, so as I say, I understand, but obviously it is frustrating for me at the same time.”
Frustrating but understandable seems a fair assessment of the situation from Gomez’ point of view. Whatever the situation now, though, the way the situation has shifted over the past year shows just how quickly things can change.
Last season at varying points Gomez, Matip, and Dejan Lovren all looked to have a starting place locked down alongside Van Dijk. At the end of last season and again now, Matip had it—but over a long and gruelling season, things can change.
“I’ve got to keep working hard and keep pushing on,” Gomez added. “You can’t rest on your laurels and sit there and be down about it. You have got to be there every day in training and keep positive because you want to do yourself justice when the time comes.
“I have just got to keep doing that every day, keep working. I’ve got a great set of lads to learn from. Obviously Virgil and Joel, me and Dejan keep pushing each other as well. It’s part of being at Liverpool.”