The Player Liverpool Having Been Missing In their Starting Eleven

Liverpool are not in a rut but they’ve started to look a bit shaky in recent weeks.

After holding a healthy gap over current Premier League champions Manchester City, The Reds have slipped to second place although they still have a game in hand over Pep Guardiola’s current league leaders. Win that game and Liverpool will regain top spot.

But that win isn’t a definite. Jurgen Klopp’s squad have will have to beat a resurgent Manchester United side to keep their title bid on track as well as beating AFC Bournemouth this weekend.

Since the turn of the year, the Merseyside giants have lost to Man City and they’ve also drawn their last two league fixtures against Leicester City and West Ham United.

The Reds were looking imperious at the back for much of this campaign but again they’ve somewhat faltered in 2019.

They’ve played five league games in the last month and in those they’ve conceded seven goals. In their previous twenty top flight fixtures, the team conceded just eight times.

For me, Liverpool have really missed England defender Joe Gomez.

The young versatile star had made twelve starts before he fractured his leg in early December. The twenty-one year old had finally established himself as a regular first team starter and looked a natural partner in beside Virgil van Dijk.

Gomez gave the side extra pace in defence and he was also very efficient when passing the ball out from the backline. In Liverpool’s defat to Man City, Dejan Lovren was slow to close down Sergio Aguero for the first goal and for the second he was a year behind the rest of his defensive teammates. You get the feeling Gomez would’ve been better in those situations.

The Anfield club were unbeaten with Joe in the team and he helped the side collect eight cleansheets in the process.

In recent weeks, The Reds have also missed Trent Alexander-Arnold from their ideal back four. The right-back has a knee injury but according to the youngster should be back in full-training next week.

Unfortunately Trent’s injury has shown us that The Reds have lack of depth in defence. Fellow full-back Nathaniel Clyne was loaned out to Bournemouth in January. Midfielders Jordan Henderson and James Milner have been asked to plug the gap.

Ideally Gomez would’ve seamlessly moved across and filled in while Trent was out. Joe would have been better defensively than Milner or Henderson, while still offering pace down the flank.

Earlier this season coach Klopp heaped praise on Joe Gomes, telling the club’s website:

“Joe’s development and progression has been outstanding in the past couple of seasons and I only see his trajectory heading in an upward direction.”

“He is so keen to learn and so keen to improve that I think his potential has no limit. Already this season we have seen him mature on the pitch and the credit for that goes 100 per cent to Joe himself for the attitude he has.”

It has been clear to me, that the Anfield side have really missed Joe in the last two months. They’ve missed his assured performances in alongside Van Dijk and they’ve missed his versatility to star as the club’s right-back while Trent Alexander-Arnold has been out injured.

There’s no definitive return date for the defender but the sooner he returns to full fitness the better for Liverpool’s title chances.


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