- Liverpool secured their first cup final of 2024 with a 1-1 draw against Fulham
- Joe Gomez has proven a Swiss Army knife in defence for Jurgen Klopp’s side
- Be careful what you wish for Palace fans! Do you want to become a yo-yo club? It’s All Kicking Off
There was a touching moment before the match when Sky Sports pundit Daniel Sturridge, sporting a smart pink scarf, told Liverpool’s Joe Gomez: ‘You were once my baby bro, now you’re the longest-serving player.’
Gomez is now one of the big brothers at Liverpool. Still only 26, mind, but it feels like Gomez has been around forever. He is the only survivor from when Jurgen Klopp took over at Liverpool in 2015.
It has not always been easy for Gomez, though. Indeed, there have probably been more hard times than good, given a long list of injuries – damaging his anterior cruciate ligaments, needing ankle surgery, long-standing tibia issues to name just three.
But here he is, not just back playing regularly but back to his very best and finally seeing out the sky-high potential many knew he had when he moved to Liverpool from Charlton as a youngster.
‘Ain’t nobody like Joe Gomez,’ sang the Liverpool fans, as they always do. ‘Makes me happy, makes me feel this way.’ And there are few like Gomez, especially in terms of versatility. He has thrived at left back, right back and centre back this season.
Joe Gomez is a stalwart for Liverpool and has been crucial to their competing on four fronts
On punditry duty, Daniel Sturridge (pictured left in 2015) reflected on when Gomez (right) had felt like ‘baby bro’, with the versatile defender now Liverpool’s longest-serving player
Whether it’s playing on the right when Trent Alexander-Arnold needed a rest earlier in the season, in defence when Virgil van Dijk was suspended or at left back, as seen recently when Andy Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas have both been injured.
Gomez has played 90 minutes in each of Liverpool’s games so far in 2024 and has been just as integral as anyone in their fight on four fronts this season. He is likely to be given a rest in Sunday’s FA Cup tie against Norwich but has given Jurgen Klopp a selection headache thereafter.
He is now difficult to drop and it would be harsh to leave him out when Robertson – who will likely get minutes in that clash with the Canaries – returns to full fitness after a long spell on the sidelines with a dislocated shoulder. That, of course, is a good problem to have.
The 26-year-old may have planted a seed in the mind of Gareth Southgate ahead of EURO 2024
Gomez’s form will also have surely planted a seed of thought in the minds of Gareth Southgate and Steve Holland ahead of England’s next matches in March. No other English defender has the versatility which the 26-year-old can boast.
As Klopp said: ‘Without Joey, nothing would have happened. He’s played exceptional, supreme defender and he comes inside. Tried to finish the discussion about not scoring which has gone on too far. But yeah… a life saver!’