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Jurgen Klopp 'really happy' with Joe Gomez performance levels

Jurgen Klopp has paid tribute to the recent performance levels of Liverpool defender Joe Gomez while speaking to the club’s official website.

Gomez, 23, has been forced to step up in recent weeks following the long-term absence of Virgil van Dijk as well as recent injuries to Fabinho and Joel Matip.

The England international has remained an ever-present figure in Klopp’s starting XI since Van Dijk suffered an ACL rupture during the 2-2 draw with Everton last month.

BERGAMO, ITALY – NOVEMBER 03: Duvan Zapata of Atalanta BC is challenged by Joe Gomez of Liverpool FC during the UEFA Champions League Group D stage match between Atalanta BC and Liverpool FC at Gewiss Stadium on November 03, 2020 in Bergamo, Italy. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

During that period, Gomez has helped inspire Liverpool to five wins from five matches, including three consecutive Champions League victories that have left the Reds requiring just three points to secure qualification from their three remaining matches.

His presence at the heart of Liverpool’s defensive quartet have also seen Liverpool register three clean sheets including a stunning 5-0 victory against one of Europe’s most potent attacks, and in the wake of that performance, Klopp was quick to praise his chief defensive organiser.

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Asked for an assessment of Gomez in Van Dijk’s absence, Klopp told reporters: “Very good, very good.

“He’s still young, so impressive number, impressive boy.

“He came here before me, so he’s here even longer than me. He played left-back, he played right-back, when Brendan played with three in the back, different positions.

“He played together with Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel, all these guys, then Dejan Lovren, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip. So he had so many different partners but he was always the kid in the line pretty much and that changed now obviously completely.

“And how everybody in life, we have to grow in situations like this and he did that. He used the last few weeks obviously, pretty much thrown in cold water if you want, and used it really well.

“[He] did really well and I’m really happy about the performances he put in. Very important for us obviously.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 31: (THE SUN OUT, THGE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Jurgen Klopp with Joe Gomez of Liverpool during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on December 31, 2019 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

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There is no questioning that Gomez’s performance levels have gone up a gear since Van Dijk’s absence and it is particularly encouraging to see that he is able to maintain Liverpool’s defensive standards despite losing one of the best players in world football.

He has had to showcase certain leadership qualities that weren’t necessarily required before with Gomez paired alongside a different centre-back partner in Liverpool’s last three matches.

Whether it has been Rhys Williams, Nat Phillips or Fabinho, Gomez has had to be the chief organiser and defensive lynchpin that sets the tone from the back.

It is easy to forget that at just 23, and that Gomez has had to showcase a maturity level well above his age and that is testament to the character and mental resilience of the former Charlton Athletic star that has put Liverpool in such good stead despite a crazy number of injuries.

 

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