Liverpool might have to start worrying about Joe Gomez after his poor display against Aston Villa. This wasn’t the first time.
Adrian made the error for the Aston Villa goal and it was his fautl but Joe Gomez doesn’t escape without criticism. His positioning was wrong, he didn’t show for the ball, and he forced Adrian to kick it long.
Only, Adrian didn’t kick it long and the whole mess started. It was a minor error but that was the first real Gomez error of the night and it wasn’t the last.
For the second, he inexplicably allowed Ollie Watkins to cut inside on his right foot for an easier finish. That’s just weak defending.
But really, Gomez was poor throughout. His stats (per Whoscored) go some way to telling the story.
Gomez attempted two ariel duels and won both – no complaints there. But he struggled in every other area. For instance, he only attempted one tackle and failed to make it. Every other Liverpool defender had a 100% success rate with theirs.
The 23-year-old didn’t make any interceptions. For comparison, the player to his right, Trent Alexander-Arnold made four. The player to his left, Virgil van Dijk, made three.
Gomez made five clearances – the same as every other Liverpool defender combined. It’s hard to tell if that’s a good thing or whether he consistently struggled to find an out-ball.
Aston Villa also dispossessed Gomez once, making him the only centre-half in the game who was.
This is now two terrible results in a row where Gomez has still stood out. When Liverpool last suffered a humiliation – 4-0 against Manchester City – Gomez was poor enough that Jurgen Klopp took him off at half-time.
Here, the England defender lasted 61 minutes but that’s still notable. Liverpool don’t usually sub off their centre-halves.
So this is a little concerning. When Liverpool really struggle, Gomez appears to suffer a particularly hard drop in his form. It’s almost like he relies on the confidence around him to play well.
But when everyone else struggles, Gomez falls apart. That’s a worrying trait.
The positive is that Gomez is a fantastic defender. He played a great part in Liverpool’s title win last season and he’s still only 23. There is plenty of time to iron this out of his game, then.
But hopefully, that happens soon or Liverpool may just regret not bringing in an extra senior defender this summer.