Joe Gomez is back fit and, after appearing as a substitute for short cameos in Liverpool’s last two games, is posing a major selection headache to Jurgen Klopp.
The Englishman missed four months through injury after suffering a leg fracture against Burnley in December.
It came as a serious blow to the 21-year-old’s season as well as Liverpool’s title challenge.
However, Joel Matip stepped in after recovering from his own injury. He suffered a broken collarbone but returned strong and has been one of the standout performers for the Reds this season.
After Dejan Lovren lost his concentration against Manchester City and kept Raheem Sterling onside in the buildup to Leroy Sane’s winner at the Etihad in January, Matip showed the Croatian what he should be doing to prolong his Anfield career.
As good as Matip has been and as deserving as he is to finish the season as part of the starting XI, there will undoubtedly be a part of Klopp that will want to reinstate Gomez after how he performed earlier this season.
The 21-year-old was being lauded by some of the Premier League’s best ever players as a future legend.
The partnership he was developing with Virgil van Dijk was certainly very promising and had no obviously exploitable weaknesses.
The two centre backs are both very strong in the air, fast over the ground and able to pick out the toughest passes into the front three.
It’s difficult to predict how many goals Liverpool would have conceded had Gomez not been injured but it’s fair to assume that it would have been at least five fewer than the 20 the Reds have let in this season.
With three Premier League fixtures and at least two Champions League games remaining, Klopp will be tempted to start Gomez and very few will resent for him doing so.
Unless, of course, your name is Joel Matip. Whatever happens, Matip deserves to start every game the Reds play in Europe before the end of the season.
If the Merseysiders make it to the final of the Champions League, it would be very cruel to not start Matip but resting him in the Premier League would be understandable.