It would be easy to have forgotten all about one of Liverpool’s rising stars, Joe Gomez. The defender played a key role in the opening weeks of the 2015/16 campaign, before a devastating ACL injury was picked up whilst training with England under 21s on the same weekend as Klopp was appointed. Initially expected to return this summer, a heel injury has provided a further setback, but he finally has a date to work towards as he is expected back in training towards the end of October.
The former Charlton man is expected to pick up where he left off, slightly out of position but providing cover at left-back, with Jurgen Klopp still not fully convinced by Alberto Moreno or James Milner, who is currently occupying the role as a square peg in a round hole. Gomez has huge potential and will be desperate to make up for lost time when he eventually returns to fitness for the Reds.
Former manager Brendan Rodger’s has also confirmed that the club tried to sign Bayern’s midfield dynamo Thiago Alacantra whilst he was in charge in the Anfield dugout as he explained:
I used to often come to see the lower categories of Barca, Nolito was in youth, Soriano in the reserves with Thiago. I tried to sign Thiago for Liverpool, but could not because he wanted to sign for Bayern.
The Spaniard has frequently been linked with a move to the Premier League, with Manchester United one of the sides who are often linked, but Thiago opted to join his former boss Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich. Since, he has matured into one of Europe’s top midfielders and has overcome some serious injury problems. Whilst he would have been perfect for Liverpool under Rodgers, it is hard to imagine that the Reds had any chance of pulling off the deal with Bayern hovering.
Instead, a different man has an important role in Liverpool’s midfield, and summer signing Georgino Wijnaldum had been in fine form since completing his move from Newcastle United in the summer. The Dutchman has missed just 16 minutes of Premier League action with four games played, but is yet to notch his first goal in a red shirt despite going close on various occasions, and he told the Liverpool Echo he is desperate to get on the scoresheet:
You get used to scoring goals, during the years I have scored a lot of goals as a midfielder and when you get that feeling, you always want to score. You’re going to have a hunger to score goals and you’re going to be greedy to score goals. That’s what I am right now.
Having scored on eleven occasions last season in a relegated side, the 25-year-old is playing in a deeper role this term under Klopp and insists that the team comes first:
But the most important thing is ‘how can I help the team’? If that’s with assists then so be it.
With two assists in his opening four games, he is almost halfway to matching his tally of five in 38 last season. Against Chelsea on Friday, Wijnaldum would be presented with a perfect opportunity to get on the scoresheet, having done just that when playing for The Magpies in 2015/16, but in a game of such magnitude, even continuing his positive start in terms of assists will be well received by Reds supporters.
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