Dave Davis explores what the future holds for Liverpool’s left-back slot.
A hot topic for all reds right now is the left-back situation. For all the positives on the back of Liverpool’s win at the Emirates, a glance at Twitter or a read of various articles will tell you that Alberto Moreno didn’t have the greatest game to say the least.
Our next game is Burnley away and there are strong suggestions that fitness permitting, Jürgen Klopp will throw James Milner straight back into the action and give him a chance to prove himself in what’s become a problem position. For all those who want a new left back though, there is a suspicion that Klopp is potentially waiting for a player’s recovery for his team to take full shape.
Few at best had heard of Joe Gomez when he made the £3.5 million move across from Charlton. Many expected that the England under-21 international would be cover for Moreno at best and that it had a hint of an FSG buy being thrust upon the then manager Brendan Rodgers. Gomez had been a nominee for The Championship Apprentice Of The Year Award so maybe it shouldn’t have been that great a surprise as to who well the young defender initially performed.
It seems an age ago now, but Gomez’s early appearances drew praise from many as the right-footed defender’s pace, aggression and determination made him a starter and resigned Moreno to the bench. Maybe even more impressive is that by the end of August and before his ACL injury, Gomez lead the stats for % of tackles and interceptions won.
Injury has unfortunately become what most now associate with Gomez and it was a shame that the 19 year old suffered another setback after we’d heard how hard he’d been working over the summer. It was expected that the centre back options would be Lovren, Matip and Sakho with the ex-Charlton player potentially stepping in for cup competitions or acting as cover. The early success of Ragnar Klavan means that Klopp now has four experienced centre-backs to call upon and as such has to think carefully what he does with Gomez.
Time will tell what impact the injuries have had on the player and there is the fear that he may go the way of Jon Flanagan, whose never been the same player since and has been sent to Burnley to get regular game time in the hope he returns to his original level. If Klopp, Buvac and Kornmayer can return him to that level though, they will have a player with searing pace, immense potential and one that 99% would pick ahead of Alberto Moreno. It may be possible that Milner’s is just a placeholder for the time being…