Whilst a goalless draw against Plymouth was far from what Liverpool will have wanted, there were some positives to be taken, with some youngsters performing particularly well on the afternoon.
Jurgen Klopp made a lot of changes to his side, allowing his youngsters a chance to impress against the visitors, a League 2 side. One youngster was also a player returning from a long-term injury.
Making his first appearance for Liverpool in over 400 days, Joe Gomez put in a solid display for the Reds in their stalemate against Plymouth Argyle.
Since joining the club, Gomez has proven to be one of several exciting young talents. Before sustaining a nasty ACL injury that ruled him out for over a year, the ex-Charlton defender caught the eye of Brendan Rodgers and several fans with his solid, no nonsense style of defending.
The youngster’s ability to play with the ball makes him an ideal fit for Jurgen Klopp’ side and the German seems to have some faith in him with Lucas Leiva rumoured to be heading for the exit door in January. With Liverpool lacking an array of defensive cover, Gomez could see himself gain more chances in the second half of the season.
— James Carroll (@James_Carroll84) January 8, 2017
Klopp has utilised Lucas at centre-back but the progress of Joe Gomez means Klopp has accepted the offer from Inter. #LFC (Daily Mail)
— Viktor Fagerström (@ViktorFagerLFC) December 29, 2016
While not being tested often against Plymouth, Gomez proved to be a calming figure at the back, showing confidence to roam forward with the ball and help the Reds continue to tick over. Clearly it wasn’t the hardest game he will ever play, but given his time on the side-lines, it was a pleasing performance and perhaps a sign of what is to come.
— LFC Phil (@phil_lfc_82) January 8, 2017
With Lucas looking increasingly likely to move on in January and Mamadou Sakho out of favour at the club, the path is certainly clear for Joe Gomez to establish himself at Liverpool and force his way into Klopp’s first team plans.
The manager has faith in Gomez and if he can regain the form he showed before his injury nightmare, there’s little reason to suggest the defender can’t be a success at Anfield.
Although Gomez didn’t have a lot to do, he won more aerial duels than any other Liverpool player (4) and made a huge 76 touches. He also made 2 interceptions and blocked 1 shot. Gomez tried his best to help Liverpool attack well, completing 83.3% of his passes and being accurate with 3 of his 6 attempted long balls.
The good thing for Gomez is that despite his long injury, he is still just 19. Under Klopp he has a great chance of developing into a top level defender. Today was just the first step in a long journey for him in fulfilling his potential, I’m confident that under Klopp and in this system, he can do just that.
Here’s some more reaction to how Gomez performed on Sunday afternoon.
The only positive from today's game for me, was Joe Gomez, the rest, well…
— queen b (@LittleBxxx) January 8, 2017
A massive positive today was having big joe gomez back. Like having a new signing. Got a big future ahead of him under klopp. #LFC
— Chris Whitt (@ChrisWhitto09) January 8, 2017
Main positive today was seeing Joe Gomez back in action. The future of our defence.
— Jack Sear (@JackSear) January 8, 2017
Joe Gomez was great. Happy to see him complete 90 mins.
— Mubashir (@MubzLFC) January 8, 2017