Joe Gomez given new Liverpool opportunity as 105-minute truth emerges – Mark Wakefield

Modern football is all about taking a chance when it is presented to you – and it’s no different at Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp. The Reds boss is no stranger to throwing a curveball when it comes to team selection, and with the amount of fixtures ahead it should be expected that we see more of them.

With one trophy already in the back pocket, Liverpool will be striving to achieve an unprecedented quadruple in the remaining weeks of the campaign. Two quarter-finals on the horizon and an enthralling Premier League title race means that Klopp will need the full use of his squad more than he ever has before.

One of those players who will be keen to showcase his talents is Joe Gomez.

The center-back has been restricted to just nine appearances in all competitions, with five of those in the Premier League. Out of those five, only one included a start which saw him play the full 90 minutes of the 3-1 home win over Norwich.

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That victory over the Canaries could provide a hint as to a potential chance that could be coming Gomez’s way very soon. More specific, against Watford this weekend.

Klopp’s side take on the Hornets in the Saturday early-kick at Anfield, with a chance to go temporarily top of the table before Manchester City face Burnley a couple of hours later.

Gomez can count himself unfortunate that he has only been on the pitch for 105 minutes of Premier League football this season. When you factor in 90 of those came in one game, you realize how much the defender has been restricted to first-team action.

The 24-year-old has been an unused substitute 16 times in the league this season, but maybe that will also change against Watford.

Trent Alexander-Arnold has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since before the international break, and missed Liverpool’s last match against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup. Klopp says that the full-back could play a part against Watford, but did not say with certainty either way.

Should Alexander-Arnold be absent yet again for Liverpool, it could present Gomez with his big opportunity this season. Given that the Reds’ No.66 is likely to be back for the trip to Benfica in the Champions League next week, regular opportunities for Gomez will depend heavily on how much he impresses against Watford, if he gets the nod, of course.

Despite being a center-back by trade, Gomez has shown he is more than capable of playing on the right side of the defense. He of course cannot provide the same level of attacking quality that Alexander-Arnold does, but that is no reflection on his ability di lui.

He showed against both Nottingham Forest and Norwich that he is more than capable of moving out of position in Liverpool’s defense without it having a detrimental effect on his output. But what matters most now is performing well when the pressure is on him both personally and on a team level.

Should Gomez start against Watford, presumably at right-back, it is likely to be his only chance for several weeks. It would be imperative for him to show Klopp and co what he can do in a match situation.

Let’s not forget, rewind back to the 2018/19 season Gomez was arguably the first-choice center-back partner for Virgil van Dijk. Now, you could argue that he is now fourth overall behind Van Dijk, Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate.

Things have dramatically changed since then, though, and Gomez will know that he will have to do an awful lot to dislodge Matip or Konate on current form. It’s therefore vital that when a chance does come his way, he grabs it with both hands.


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