Fans could be forgiven for forgetting just how good Joe Gomez is on his day.
Dominant performances have been sporadic for the Liverpool defender over the last couple of years, and his inconsistent displays this season have justified why he is fourth in the centre-back pecking order at Anfield. Following his man-of-the-match outing against Manchester City in October, he conceded a penalty against West Ham and faced a tirade from his own manager in the 1-0 defeat by struggling Nottingham Forest.
Gomez’s struggles mean he can have few complaints about being left at home this winter, with Gareth Southgate choosing six other centre-backs to represent England at the World Cup in Qatar. The 25-year-old looks a shadow of the player who started 12 consecutive Premier League victories during Liverpool’s charge towards the title in the 2019/20 season.
A lack of confidence and some poor decision making was on show in the defeat by Forest, when the Liverpool Echo noted Gomez backed off rather than look to defend on the front foot. With the Reds chasing the game at that point in the second half, Jurgen Klopp was already cutting a frustrated figure on the touchline, so he did not hold back as he aimed some choice words at the Englishman.
Gomez is sure to share Klopp’s frustration. One week earlier, he was the toast of Merseyside after marshalling the Reds to a clean sheet against the defending champions, earning lavish praise in the process.
“It’s just great for Joey that he can show what a player he is,” Klopp said after the 1-0 victory over City. “An outstanding, outstanding talent, great player, can play different positions, obviously. Today was a sensationally-mature performance, together with Virgil [van Dijk] and the two full-backs.”
Why has Joe Gomez struggled this season? Have your say in the comments…