Liverpool return to Premier League action at Craven Cottage in the lunchtime kick-off this afternoon against Fulham, and it hasn’t been plain sailing for Jurgen Klopp so far this summer, with a number of injury issues already hindering the team.
In his pre-match press conference, the Reds manager shared some insight into the ongoing injury problems at the club ahead of their first league game of the season, with Curtis Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Caoimhin Kelleher, Kostas Tsimikas, Diogo Jota, Calvin Ramsey and Ibrahima Konate all ruled out of the squad for today.
One player who has been knocked back with injury issues in the past but is currently fit and ready to go ahead of the new season is Joe Gomez, who has also signed a new contract with the club this summer.
With Konate injured, it could be a great opportunity to give the 25-year-old the opportunity to take his place in the team again and re-establish his centre-back partnership with Virgil Van Dijk which contributed to Liverpool’s first Premier League title win in 2019/20.
Gomez and the Dutchman were the Reds’ most-used central defensive pairing as Klopp’s team romped to the title, winning a combined 7.5 headers per game as they presented a formidable two-pronged obstacle to opposition attackers.
The defensive duo could now be given the opportunity to spark that winning formula once more, especially now that Gomez is clearly in Klopp’s plans after having his future secured until 2027.
The 25-year-old, who was dubbed “sensational” by his manager, suffered a long-term patella injury which left him sidelined for 231 days and 39 fixtures over the 2020/21 campaign, but last season he was eased back into the team, tallying 21 appearances.
Over seven Champions League appearances in 2021/22, Gomez was successful in 100% of his dribble attempts, along with winning 74% of his duels and delivering a 92% pass completion rate, but the Englishman only played an average of 37 minutes per game.
With that being said, Klopp must find opportunities to give the 25-year-old more game-time, with the new season the perfect time to offer that to the £75k-per-week defender following Konate’s injury blow.
The game against Fulham today presents a great opportunity to give Gomez a chance to prove that he is still worthy of his place in the team.