Joe Gomez put in a great performance against Everton, proving he can lead Liverpool into the next era.
Gomez doesn’t necessarily have to be club captain to do that, of course. What he will surely have to do, however, is command the defence from the back.
It’s a role that Virgil van Dijk currently has and one he will hopefully retain for a few years yet. But there will be a time where Van Dijk slows down and needs replacing.
In terms of talent, Gomez, who arrived for £3.5m in 2015, is ideal to take over the position. That’s something we mentioned recently and few doubts remain over his ability to be Liverpool’s top centre-half.
But being a leader is something else entirely. There’s the organisation, the presence and the authority needed to fill that role – not all come with talent.
But Gomez showed against Everton that he can be Liverpool’s defensive leader for the next era. While he shouldn’t have to fill that role for a while in the first-team, he did have to do it on Sunday.
Jurgen Klopp rested the entire first-choice XI right now except for Gomez. It means the defender was far and away the most experienced defender in the side once James Milner went off injured.
Next to him, he had Nat Phillips, playing his first game for Liverpool. On the left, 19-year-old Yasser Larouci came on for his senior debut. On the right, Neco Williams (18) played only his second senior game.
Gomez had to keep all of that together against Everton’s first-choice attack. Somehow, he led them to a clean-sheet and limited Everton to zero shots on target in the second half.
He did in a Merseyside derby at 22 alongside three defenders with under a dozen appearances between them. That’s quite incredible and the way Gomez swept up behind the defence and kept everyone in line was fantastic to see.
Based on this, he will surely be capable of commanding Liverpool’s defence when the time finally comes.