Brendan Rodgers ultimately failed in his bid to break Liverpool’s Premier League hoodoo during his time as manager of the club, but his decision to sign Joe Gomez in a bargain £3.5 million deal may well have provided Jurgen Klopp with a vital piece of the jigsaw in his bid to prevent Pep Guardiola from strengthening his grip on the top-flight.
It’s near-impossible to account for human error and cruel moments of misfortune like the one which Steven Gerrard endured with the Premier League title in sight during the 2013/14 season, but Rodgers was able to positively influence Liverpool’s future aspirations of lifting the Premier League title when he concluded a deal for Gomez.
After impressing at Charlton throughout his development, Gomez forced Liverpool’s hand on June 20th 2015 as the Reds welcomed him to Anfield in a deal worth £3.5 million.
The little-known central defender hardly stirred up a media frenzy following the announcement and only a few murmurs of enthusiasm greeted him to Merseyside, but the supporters weren’t to know the true extent of his ability back then.
Over three seasons later and 21-year-old Gomez is now a regular fixture in Jurgen Klopp’s back-four either as a centre-back or a right-back.
His versatility is just one of his standout attributes but his ability to slot in at full-back is a telling indicator of his technical quality.
Besides, in modern football there is little place for a full-back who refuses to venture forward in a bid to support the winger lying ahead, so Klopp’s willingness to deploy Gomez at right-back when he has Trent Alexadner-Arnold at his disposal is a testament to how highly he is regarded both as a defender and a technical talent.
Gomez’s phenomenal pace and composure in possession enable him to drift into space before finding his teammates with precise forward passes – his through ball into Xherdan Shaqiri against Huddersfield was a prime example of his confidence in executing low-percentage passes which other defenders would shy away from.
Taking Gomez’s age, rapid development and price-tag into consideration, it’s fair to label Rodgers’ decision to bring him to Anfield in 2015 as something of a masterstroke, as he could easily be on the same level as Virgil van Dijk – a player whom cost £75 million – in just two seasons time.
And if Gomez continues on the upward trajectory he is currently on at both club and international level, there is no doubt he has the potential to blossom into a Liverpool legend in the years to come.
Even if Gomez eventually decides to pursue his career away from Anfield, Liverpool will be in a commanding position to generate an almighty profit on the measly £3.5 million they initially paid for him.
Liverpool fans – thoughts? Let us know below!