In an era of rotation and looking for the perfect balance in a 50 game season, no player is truly undroppable – except if your name is Virgil van Dijk or Alisson Becker.
But lately, it seems as if Joe Gomez is falling into a similar category of player for Liverpool with the 23-year-old consistently delivering for Jurgen Klopp in the heart of the defence.
Since the restart, Gomez has started five of Liverpool’s six PL outings alongside UEFA Player of the Year Van Dijk.
Indeed, his consistency in the team has also been benefited due to the injuries of Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip but even before the break, it was Gomez who emerged as Klopp’s most trusted lieutenant to partner Van Dijk.
Before project restart, Gomez started in 12 consecutive PL matches after being reinstated to the team with the Englishman fourth in the defensive pecking order earlier on in the season.
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Incredibly, Liverpool have only lost just one match in the previous two seasons in which Gomez has started. Also, of the 14 clean sheets, the Reds have registered this season, Gomez has been present in the starting XI in 13 of them.
There were questions raised regarding Gomez after he severely struggled during the 4-0 defeat at Manchester City. He was taken off at half-time after gifting a penalty and was left bemused by Raheem Sterling in what proved to be a tough evening for Gomez at the Etihad Stadium.
While there are still questions regarding certain positions for Liverpool, Gomez’s influence this season has seen the back-four pick itself since his reinstatement and the former Charlton star appears to be the long-term option to partner the finest central defender in world football.
When it comes to big games, Klopp considers Gomez undroppable.
Gomez commands respect from all of his teammates and at just 23, he has become on of the club’s most senior players in the squad since joining the club in 2015 for a bargain fee of just £3.5 million [BBC Sport].
Only Jordan Henderson and Dejan Lovren have served longer for Liverpool and at such a young age, there is no reason Gomez cannot be an ever-present figure at the club for the next 10-12 years.
A class act
Gomez yet again produced an assured and composed performance against Burnley at Anfield on Saturday afternoon. He was a class act and barely put a foot wrong producing 96 touches which was only bettered by Andy Robertson.
Commanding a highly respectable pass completion of 87 per cent, Gomez also produced more accurate passes (74) than any player on the pitch and his total of 85 passes was only bettered by Van Dijk – who made one more pass than the England international.
No time for rest
Following a number of gruelling injuries in the past, history would suggest that Gomez needs to be managed carefully in the final three matches of the season.
However, when considering the current injury status of Lovren and Matip a rest would seem highly unlikely.
If there is one area of Gomez’s game that needs to improve to take Liverpool to the next level it would be his durability.
While he has enjoyed a relatively injury-free season this campaign, in comparison to Van Dijk, Gomez’s durability in the team is miles off.
Van Dijk hasn’t missed a Premier League match for Liverpool since February 2018 while Gomez has featured in just 25 of the Reds’ 35 league fixtures this season.
Most of this of course, isn’t at the fault of Gomez who has been hindered on numerous occasions by lengthy injuries but if he is to reach the next level of his development then he will hope that his injury woes are firmly behind him.
With just three fixtures left of the season, Gomez and his defensive quartet will be looking to finish as strongly as possible as they close in on the all-time record points haul.
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