Jamie Carragher has told Sky Sports’ The Football Show (Tuesday, 10.25am) that Liverpool defender Joe Gomez can be the long-term successor to Virgil van Dijk when the Dutchman eventually moves on.
Van Dijk, who joined Liverpool in January 2018 and has since transformed the Reds, turns 29 in July. The former Celtic and Southampton ace has a contract until the summer of 2023, which will see him remain at the club until he is almost 32.
Though he is still performing at the top of his game, the concern is that when van Dijk begins to deteriorate, Liverpool need to have a long-term replacement in position ready to take over the centre-back reigns.
Liverpool legend Carragher spoke to England international Gomez on the The Football Show and he reckons the £3.5million (BBC) signing from Charlton Athletic in 2015 is good enough to replace van Dijk in the long run – given he is only 22.
“This season, his performances have been on a par with van Dijk,” Carragher said. “He hasn’t lost a Premier League game this season, with Dejan Lovren playing against Watford. Alongside van Dijk, you do look better.
TBR’s view – Is Gomez good enough to fill van Dijk’s shoes?
Towards the end of the season, van Dijk put in some slightly questionable performances – certainly against Watford – showing that the former Groningen star is most definitely human. But there is no doubt that he is the world’s best central defender.
Can Gomez replace him when van Dijk begins to age? He is learning from him now and when Gomez has a few hundred games under his belt for Liverpool, then there is no reason why he could not match van Dijk – or go even better.