Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hinted in the build-up to the FA Cup Third Round meeting with Plymouth Argyle that he could hand Joe Gomez his first start in well over a year so there was little surprise when the German manager made good on that, giving the 19-year old his first run out at Anfield since October 2015.
“It meant a lot to me after being out for such a long time, it’s something I dreamt of. But the main thing was the result and we’ve got to try to get that in the [replay]. For me, it was nice to be back playing at Anfield,” Gomez told the club’s official website. “Coming back out to that crowd at Anfield was something in the back of my mind the whole time. It was important for me to get back to this point but now [I need to] keep pushing on and try to get back playing and [be] regularly involved,” explained the youngster, sounding ready to vie for a first team spot. “It was a big moment for me to be back involved again but it’s about pushing forward and [to] keep learning.”
Video courtesy of @MrBoywunder
Strong off the ball and composed on it, it appears the 19-year old hasn’t lost a step despite serious back to back knee injuries hampering his development. Time, of course, will tell for Gomez and it will be interesting to see just how he’ll fare against opposition more concerned with creating than containing, but the boy looks like a big talent. Although he needs time on the pitch to get fully back up to speed, Klopp has confirmed that he won’t let the youngster go out on loan this January with the German manager having kept open a spot in the squad for him.
“It was wonderful, but I don’t think it was the most difficult game of his whole life!” said the Reds manager with a laugh, staying upbeat despite having to pencil in a replay with the Pilgrims. “He did well, he is an outstanding talent, no doubt,” enthused Klopp, full for praise for Gomez. “It was a real job to do, a few physical fights and then afterwards a complete change from a big strong guy and the small and quick boy came on the pitch.”