Liverpool defender Joe Gomez has opened up about his personal difficulties of watching his team-mates from the sidelines having suffered injury problems this season.
Gomez, who has just been included in Gareth Southgate’s preliminary squad for England’s Nations League semi-final against the Netherlands, started the season in excellent form alongside Virgil van Dijk at the heart of Jurgen Klopp’s defence, before suffering an injury in the Reds’ 3-1 win at Burnley at the beginning of December.
That injury meant that Gomez had to watch Liverpool’s title battle with Manchester City and the Reds’ Champions League run from the stands until he returned in April, and he has revealed the frustrations that that caused him during the second half of the season.
“It’s probably underestimated a bit how much it can affect us as footballers,” the 21-year-old told Liverpool’s official club website.
“Like it might just seem that you’re injured and now you just watch the boys, but it hurts – especially a year like this that was pretty historic.
“To watch a large majority of those games, having had a taste of it at the beginning, was difficult to take. Obviously it was nice to overcome it and get a bit of involvement at the end.”
Gomez was an excellent performer for Liverpool during the first half of the season, forming a formidable partnership with Virgil van Dijk at the heart of Klopp’s defence. The loss to Gomez through the injury he suffered against Burnley in December was a big blow for Liverpool during the second half of the campaign. Klopp’s side lost their only Premier League game of the season, a crucial 2-1 defeat at title rivals Manchester City, during the 21-year-old’s absence. Liverpool also suffered their worst run of the season whilst Gomez was out of action, with a run of just one win in four games between late January and early February. That run ultimately ended up costing the Reds the Premier League title and therefore Gomez’s recent return in time for the Champions League final will be a major boost to Klopp’s sides hopes of ending the season by winning the competition. Gomez will hope that he can move on from his injury problems next season and get back to performing in a consistently high level like he was during the course of the first half of the campaign. If the 21-year-old can remain fully fit all next season the Reds will have a better chance of repeating their good form from this season next year.