Jurgen Klopp needs to reconsider his use of Joe Gomez at right-back as the defender does not look comfortable.
Klopp presumably rested Trent Alexander-Arnold for the UEFA Super Cup final. Gomez started at right-back, with Alexander-Arnold an extra-time substitute.
But Gomez never looked right there. His positioning was poor and he struggled to handle Christian Pulisic – surely the two reasons he was picked in the first place.
While Alexander-Arnold is near-flawless going forward he can, on occasion, slip up defensively. Gomez, as a natural defender, is, therefore, the ‘safe’ option.
But he didn’t look like that against Chelsea. Liverpool were playing a high line, admittedly, which could have contributed, but he didn’t look like the defender who established himself last year.
The big difference
The problems, however, may stem from his attacking. He’s certainly not a wing-back in the Alexander-Arnold mould. Gomez can’t burst down the wing – his control isn’t good enough in limited space – nor is he an accomplished crosser.
Their shape is off, their passing options limited, and whenever Gomez does get the ball, he almost invariably plays the way he’s facing. That tends to be inside or backwards, unfortunately, slowing the team down.
Alexander-Arnold offers width, though. He stretches play, makes more room for others and is a huge threat to opposition defences. Liverpool are a different team with him on the pitch.
And because Gomez isn’t able to push up, it usually leaves him in a ‘halfway’ point. He’s neither slotted in defence but nor is he
But Gomez’s move to left-back really highlighted the problem. Suddenly, he could run with the ball and get involved.
He was able to cut inside onto his right foot, into the space in the middle. Now comfortable with the ball, he was a legitimate outlet.
Liverpool have no cover at either full-back position. Gomez may offer some at left-back, however – the position in which he broke through under Brendan Rodgers.
At right-back, however, Klopp needs to reconsider how he uses Gomez. Be that a restructuring of the team, or trying the ‘sensational’ Ki-Jana Hoever.