Adrian Durham is surely right to be worried about Liverpool defender Joe Gomez after Jurgen Klopp remarked on his current centre-back options.
In his press conference ahead of the Reds facing Crystal Palace on Saturday, the German manager singled out Dejan Lovren for praise.
“Dejan Lovren is the highest quality centre-half,” said Klopp as quoted by Liverpool’s official website.
“Does he have weaknesses? Yes, like you all! And I have. But not a lot and not in a football sense. He is an outstanding centre-half, that’s why it was always clear we wanted to keep him.
Durham played the clip of Klopp praising Lovren, before suggesting the Croatian had pretty much nailed down his place in the first-team alongside Virgil Van Dijk.
“So obviously Virgil Van Dijk’s first-team spot is nailed down when fit and it’s a question of who plays alongside him,” said Durham on talkSPORT (16:51, Friday, November 22nd).
“It seems like for a while Matip would get the nod always, now Lovren, where does that leave Joe Gomez?”
Durham pointed out that Joel Matip previously established himself as one of Klopp’s first-choice centre-backs, before getting injured, and then shared his concern about Gomez.
The broadcaster rhetorically asked with Lovren being ahead of Gomez where that left the Reds centre-back? With him clearly suggesting it puts the England international low down in the club’s pecking order as it sounds like he’s the club’s fourth choice option.
While Klopp did go on to mention Gomez in his press conference, stating that players have to carry on working for their chances as it’s about building up a rhythm in the team, it’s hard not to wonder if he’ll get the playing time he needs.
This is the case even though Klopp did refer to the Reds having a lot of games coming up.
Firstly, Gomez needs to be playing often as at the age 22-years-old, game time is important for his development, also the centre-back needs to be playing reguarly if he wants any chance of making England’s Euro 2020 squad.
So far the season, Gomez has only featured for 99 minutes across four league outings, as per WhoScored, only featured three times in the Champions League, and has appeared twice in the EFL Cup.
So it’s not like he’s drowning in minutes.
While Gomez will continue to get minutes in the EFL Cup, a tournament where Klopp has opted to play youngsters and fringe players, it’s not the same as playing week-in-week-out.
The 22-year-old has only averaged 0.5 tackles and o.3 interceptions across his league outings this season (Source: WhoScored), and given that’s not spectacular it’s hard to see him being able to climb up the pecking order, especially when he’s given limited minutes to prove himself in.
So with that in mind, it’s hard not to be worried about where Gomez currently fits in at Anfield.