There is rightly an annual note of caution that accompanies preseason tours--do not read into the results too much, and do not assume players' performances as reflective of what they may or may not produce during the regular season. Last year Philippe Coutinho tore through the North American tour only to fall out of the first eleven by September, two seasons ago Iago Aspas couldn't stop scoring before only finding the net once during the regular season, Joe Cole was remarkably competent against Rabotnicki, and, back in the Rafa Benitez days, Andriy Voronin looked a threat.
So holding back on any sort of definitive conclusion is rightly the way forward, but Liverpool supporters will be forgiven for getting a little bit excited about the early displays from Joe Gomez, who was brought in this summer from Charlton Athletic. Few outside of Charlton knew much about the young defender, and the assumption upon his signing was that he would head back out on loan to gain added first-team experience somewhere in the lower leagues.
But just a few weeks after finalizing his move, the 18-year-old has worked his way into the first-team picture at Liverpool, with two strong performances in the club's first two preseason matches leading Brendan Rodgers to assert that Gomez will have a part to play in the 2015-2016 season. The manager's comments came in the wake of an excellent showing on Friday night, when the versatile defender featured in an unfamiliar left-back role for the better part of an hour.
It was impressive, to say the least, and the type of display to test the typical restraint that preseason performances demand. That he's only 18 furthers the need for more measured expectations, but at worst one can conclude that Gomez isn't overawed by his move to Liverpool, and that he can likely be counted on as the coming season--and the four competitions it will include--gets going.