Joe Gomez exclusive: how the defender put his injury concerns behind him to become the backbone of Liverpool’s defense | Football News

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Joe Gomez discussed the influence of Jurgen Klopp, his injuries and playing alongside Virgil van Dijk in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports

Joe Gomez had injury setbacks to overcome during his time in Liverpool, but the central defender is now the cornerstone of the country’s nastiest defense and at 23, already world, European and Premier League champion .

When Gomez arrived in Liverpool in June 2015, signed as a versatile defender for Charlton, he was joining a club that had finished the previous sixth season, a cavernous 25 points behind champion Chelsea.

The promising Gomez was brought in by manager Brendan Rodgers as part of a summer madness of 100 million pounds sterling on Christian Benteke, Nathaniel Clyne, Roberto Firmino, Danny Ings and James Milner (albeit in free transfer) from the North seeking to bring Liverpool back to Liverpool. the Champions League.

Gomez arrived in Liverpool from Charlton

Gomez arrived in Liverpool from Charlton

However, despite the start of the first five games in this season in the back left, Gomez’s campaign ended prematurely after breaking his ACL while serving in England U21 in October 2015.

Gomez, however, has fond memories of this painful period in his career – it was while waiting for the scan of his injured knee that he first learned of Jurgen Klopp’s arrival at the club.

Originally, Gomez was used on the back left by Brendan Rodgers

Originally, Gomez was used on the back left by Brendan Rodgers

“I got my scan for my LCA the day of his arrival,” he said during our interview earlier this week. “Obviously, at that time as a young player, I remember being on this camp when it was announced that he was going to be our manager and I think I was 18 at the time, you can’t wait to come back and impress. ”

“And you think, ‘does he know about me? What does he think of me? Will I have a chance? ‘ So obviously, at that time, I was so devastated by the bad timing, but he spoke to me right away. ”

Talking about Klopp brings an immediate smile to Gomez’s face and it quickly becomes apparent that his affection for the German is larger than life, both as a boss and a friend.

It’s a nice feeling and probably when you hug, it means he’s in a good mood and we’ve worked well as a team. We don’t take them for granted

Joe Gomez on a post-match hug from Jurgen Klopp

“He is an incredible manager and an incredible person too,” he said. “I would say that I learned as much from him as a person in my everyday life and my attitude towards life as I did as a footballer and professional. ”

“He is also a good person off the field and I think it translates to all of us and it makes us want to play for him and do our best on the field. “

2:59
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Liverpool’s victory over Aston Villa in the Premier League

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Liverpool’s victory over Aston Villa in the Premier League

“And the fact that he is human and that he does not look like that distant boss we cannot talk to or approach – he is an accessible person and a model for all of us. ”

This serious knee injury was not the only setback Gomez suffered during his stay at Anfield, the defender also damaged the ankle ligaments in March 2018, before fracturing his leg nine months later.

Gomez paid tribute to Klopp's influence on his career

Gomez paid tribute to Klopp’s influence on his career

As a result, devoid of fitness, the man many consider Virgil van Dijk’s most suitable central defender missed the 2018 Champions League final, while having to settle for a place on the bench when Liverpool won its sixth European Cup. the next year.

“I remember getting the results in the doctor’s office (after his ACL),” he said. “And as soon as I got the results, he came in and talked to me and just said, ‘I’m here for you and I’ll be waiting for you’, that sort of thing.

“These words stayed with me throughout my rehab, which was obviously difficult. I had setbacks, but he always communicated with me.

Gomez suffered his fair share of injuries in Liverpool

Gomez suffered his fair share of injuries in Liverpool

“Then coming back – he himself had an ACL injury when he was playing and I think it helped him to understand and understand what I was going through.

“And not just when I got back, but just the process and the understanding that I myself was still young at the time and that even when I thought I was ready, I was not ready and he knew when I was ready.

Before Liverpool’s 4-0 loss to Man City, the Reds had not lost a Premier League match in which Gomez started as central defender.

“He was huge for me and since then I have had many difficult injuries and he has always been understanding and communicating with me.

“Fortunately, I have had a longer period now where I have been able to get games under my belt and play regularly and I am grateful that he has been patient in me, because all this time you do not know never if you will have a chance again. “

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Gary Neville says Liverpool title victory is the result of a combination of brilliant coaching and smart recruiting

Gary Neville says Liverpool title victory is the result of a combination of brilliant coaching and smart recruiting

“And he trusted me, so I will always be indebted to him. ”

It’s not that the Catford-born defender complains, especially since there is really no “I in the team” in Liverpool, a collective training instilled in the players by Klopp and a major factor behind the club’s record campaign.

“It says a lot that as a team and as a collective on the field, there is obviously not enough space for everyone to play and sometimes the starting lineup stays constant,” said Gomez.

“But if you went around the locker room and asked everyone about the manager, we would all talk about him with such esteem.”

Gomez and Van Dijk have formed a rock-solid partnership at the heart of Liverpool's defense

Gomez and Van Dijk have formed a rock-solid partnership at the heart of Liverpool’s defense

“As a group, it’s a nice environment to be in a nice group to play in and there isn’t really an ego in the locker room. And I think it’s a huge element for us to be so tight this year. ”

Huge credit for Liverpool winning their first title in 30 years must go to their parsimonious defense, which left only 25 goals, while keeping 15 clean sheets – the two highest in the Premier League this season – and especially the partnership in its center between Gomez and Van Dijk.

Premier League record for Liverpool since the start of 2018-2019, when Gomez and VVD both started

With Gomez and Van Dijk at the same time Premier League since August 2018 Without departure from Gomez and Van Dijk
29 Games 42
25 Victories 34
3 Draw 6
1 Losses 2
59 Goals for 102
2 Avg. Goals for 2.4
14 Goals against 33
0,5 Avg. Goals against 0,8
86,2% Win Ratio% 81%
78 Points 108
2,69 Points per match 2,57

Statistics show that since the duo started against West Ham in August 2018, not only have Liverpool lost fewer Premier League games on average, but they’ve also conceded less.

So what is the key to their wonderful partnership?

“Everyone knows how grateful I am to be in a team with him, to learn from him and to be his partner at times,” says Gomez. “It is huge for me and I am grateful that he came to the club.

I’m really going to ask her for advice. We have a good relationship, I consider him as one of my closest friends in the team

Joe Gomez on his relationship with Virgil van Dijk

“He knows that I learned a lot from him and we are good friends and that is fundamental, the foundations of things, as well as the fact that we get along, help massively. And just communicate.

“On top of that, as a unit and as a team, we have grown defensively. We cannot take credit for some of these statistics entirely, as a team, we have definitely become healthier defensively and it depends on the gaffer and coaching of the staff.

“But I like to play massively with Virgil and I learned a lot from him and I continue to do it every week, so I really know that I am blessed to be among the best defenders of the club and not only Virgil – Dejan ( Lovren) and Joel (Matip), I have learned pieces from each of them and a few other central defenders over the years as well.

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“Massively [it helps having an off-pitch friendship] – I’m really going to ask her for advice. We have a good relationship, we are close, I consider him as one of my closest friends on the team. It helps, of course, but as a team, the main thing is to go out as a collective and play for each other, the manager and the club. ”

Meanwhile, now injury-free Gomez is about to play his most games in a league season, as his return to starting lineup last December after injuries to Matip and Lovren saw Liverpool keep the sheets clean in 10 of The next 11 games he started as they established an unassailable lead over Man City and won the Club World Cup for the first time.

Coming from the pinnacle of this unforgettable triumphant campaign, Gomez – now the modern defender complete with his exceptional pace, his ability to read the game and get the ball out of the defense – can sit satisfied with his integral role in Liverpool Football Club is finally back on its perch.

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