Joe Gomez put in a superb man-of-the-match performance during Liverpools drab 0-0 draw against arch-rivals Manchester United this Saturday.
The 20-year-old moved to Anfield from Charlton Athletic in a £3.5 million move in June 2015. Gomez made a promising start to life on Merseyside and was deployed mostly as a left-back under then Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.
Sadly, for the youngster his development was dealt a hammer blow in October 2015 when he suffered a career threatening cruciate ligament injury whilst playing for the England U21 side.
The road back was a long and arduous one for the talented-defender and it wasn’t until 15 months later that he appeared for The Reds again, in an FA Cup tie against Plymouth this January.
Gomez only made three appearances for the Anfield club after his return from injury last season. He understandably showed signs of rustiness in possession and showed hesitation when committing to challenges during these showings.
Therefore, when Jurgen Klopp began using Gomez primarily as an option at right-back, many observers felt his once promising Anfield career may be in jeopardy. Liverpool of course already had the experienced Nathanial Clyne and the hugely-promising local-boy Trent Alexander-Arnold competing for a starting berth on the right side of defence.
This is why Gomez’s immense showing against United this weekend felt like it could be a defining moment in his Anfield career and certainly laid down a marker to his team-mates competing for the same position.
Not just content with keeping the visitors’ electric duo of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford firmly in his pocket for the entire 90 minutes with a superb defensive performance the youngster also showed some real class when in possession.
On a couple of occasions in particular he played the kind through balls to Emre Can and Roberto Firmino that team-mate Phillipe Couthinho would have been proud off.
Gomez is a natural athlete with excellent technical ability who may eventually move inside to play at centre-back as his career progresses.
Jurgen Klopp and Reds fans will no doubt be delighted at the kind of form the 20-year-old showed this weekend. In a season in which Liverpool’s defence has come in for widespread criticism the emphatic return to form of one of their most talented young defenders can only bode well for the season ahead.
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