Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has suggested fit-again Joe Gomez may not return to the centre of defence following his return from injury – but rather at right-back.
The versatile defender has been utilised at full-back across his career but truly blossomed earlier this season alongside Virgil van Dijk in the heart of the Reds’ backline.
Where will Gomez play? Five key things to know…
- Prior to his ankle injury Gomez had formed a formidable centre-back partnership with Van Dijk.
- The duo were instrumental as the Reds kept nine clean sheets and conceded just five goals in 14 Premier League matches.
- Gomez has previously played at right-back for Charlton Athletic and Liverpool.
- In his absence, Joel Matip has stepped up with the club keeping nine clean sheets in 20 matches, conceding 15 goals.
- With Trent Alexander-Arnold excelling at right-back, Gomez may have to wait for his opportunity to play.
Unfortunately for the England international an ankle injury has kept him out of action since early December, but he returned for Liverpool Under 23s’ 6-0 mauling of Leicester Under 23s on Sunday.
Gomez slotted in at right-back, keeping a clean sheet during his 61-minute showing, and Klopp was buoyed by not only his performance, but also that of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – who returned to action after limping off in a separate Under 23s match last month following his extended layoff.
Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com: “Absolutely [he looks strong]. Ox and Joe both did really well at Leicester, it was a brilliant game by all of the boys, to be honest, I watched it back. It looked really good.
“It’s clear they still need time to get full match fitness but it’s nice to have them back and now Joe first as an option. He played right full-back, we need him as this option as well.
“We all know he played a wonderful season at the centre-half position until his injury, but he can play both and it’s good to have him.”
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Gomez travels to Porto
Having just returned to action on Sunday, Klopp has wasted no time reintroducing Gomez to the first-team set-up, taking the six-time England international to the Estadio do Dragao.
Liverpool take on Porto in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash on Wednesday, travelling to Portugal with a healthy 2-0 aggregate lead.
Goals from Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino have put the Anfield club in the ascendancy to progress through to the penultimate stage of the elite competition, with Klopp looking to go one better than last season and lift the coveted cup.
Dejan Lovren has been ruled out through injury, while Oxlade-Chamberlain – despite playing alongside Gomez on Sunday – has also stayed in England to continue his recovery.