In what now looks to be one of Liverpool’s most shrewd signings in recent history, the Reds paid just £3.5m to Charlton for Joe Gomez back in the summer of 2015.
Brendan Rodgers was the boss at Anfield at the time and it now looks as though the blossoming England star will be the Northern Irishman’s lasting legacy at the club, as Gomez becomes a fixture in a side that is quickly becoming Jurgen Klopp’s very own.
Rodgers brought the then 18-year-old Gomez into the side almost instantly, playing the youngster out of position and on his wrong side at left-back. Like every task he seems to have been given though, Gomez took to it brilliantly and was making the position his own. His debut came against Stoke, where he registered an assist for Phillipe Coutinho’s stunning winner.
Unfortunately, just nine days after Rodgers was sacked as Liverpool manager following a 1-1 draw in the Merseyside Derby, Gomez suffered the nightmare injury for any footballer – rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament while playing for England U21.
Now 21 years old though, Gomez is back and has started the season at centre-back in the absence of Dejan Lovren. The Englishman has excelled alongside the man mountain that is Virgil van Dijk and the pair together kept three clean sheets in their first three games together. With the help of new signing Alisson in goal, the Reds have conceded just four goals in all competitions so far this season.
Gomez has certainly been a revelation for Liverpool fans, who often had to suffer through basic mistakes made by Lovren, Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan last season. The young defender is also starting to forge himself a trademark, with strong but fair sliding tackles on Lucas Moura against Tottenham and James Maddison at Leicester – which almost certainly saved a goal.
Now a full England international, Gomez has four caps for the Three Lions and many would say he deserves to start for Gareth Southgate’s revolutionised side. With the premium on young English players, it cannot be stressed enough just how much of a bargain Gomez was, with his Transfermarkt valuation already up to £19.8m.
Liverpool fans don’t often thank Rodgers for much, as the title collapse still haunts many dreams, but they should certainly show him some respect for the role he has played in the development of Gomez.
Rodgers also signed Roberto Firmino that same summer in 2015, but by testing Gomez at the start of his Liverpool career and throwing him in at the deep end, Rodgers did more for his attitude and mindset than many will realise.
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