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Our view: Joe Gomez must retain his place over Joel Matip

Liverpool are currently in the form of their lives. The European and world champions are redefining the meaning of the word relentless as their pursuit of a first league title in 30 years is beginning to look a foregone conclusion.

Jurgen Klopp’s juggernauts are currently 14 points clear of current holders Manchester City despite having played a game less. The Reds also recently made history after becoming the first team in Europe’s top-five leagues to claim 61 points from their opening 21 league matches following their 1-0 victory away at Spurs.

Much of Liverpool’s irresistible form of late has been down to the defensive solidity that has reached devestating new depths since Joe Gomez was reintroduced to the team. The Reds currently have the best defensive record in the division having conceded just 14 goals in 21 league matches.

The runaway league leaders are also off the back of six consecutive league clean sheets for the first time since 2006 following their win in the capital last weekend. Since Gomez was forced to subside in the absence of injured duo Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip, Liverpool have conceded just one goal in 10 matches.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – JANUARY 07: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Joel Matip and Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on January 07, 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Klopp recently confirmed (official website) that Lovren and Matip are close to a return with the latter expected to be included in Sunday’s matchday squad against Manchester United. The Cameroon international leapfrogged Gomez in the pecking order following an outstanding 2019 that culminated in the Champions League triumph back in June.

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At times, Matip’s performances have even eclipsed UEFA Player of the Year Virgi van Dijk’s after the former Schalke defender retained his place in Klopp’s first-choice XI at the start of the season despite Gomez recovering from a broken leg sustained in December 2018.


Matip started seven of Liverpool’s opening nine league matches before a knee injury ruled the 28-year-old out for the best part of three months. Lovren was then given the opportunity to cement himself in the team and the Croatia international certainly didn’t disappoint following a number of impressive performances alongside the ever-present Van Dijk.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 11: Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur rbreaks away from Joe Gomez of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 11, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

However, the former Southampton man sustained a muscle injury against Bournemouth leaving Gomez as Klopp’s only central defensive option. The 22-year-old has been phenomenal since returning to the team with the Englishman rediscovering the partnership with Van Dijk that helped Liverpool on their way to 21 clean sheets in the league last season.

Klopp recently stated that momentum was the driving factor behind his team selection and if this is true then Gomez has to start against United on Sunday.

The former Charlton defender had to be patient for his opportunity after falling behind Matip in the pecking order which is why the returning defender should follow suit now.


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