Liverpool enjoyed an immensely productive summer transfer window as they welcomed 4 new players to the club in deals totalling £164 million, with a new goalkeeper, 2 new central midfielders and a winger arriving at Anfield.
Lorius Karius’ blunder in the Champions League final represented the final nail in the coffin for the German stopper following months of impressive form which had momentarily put the search for a new goalkeeper on hold. But his mistake on the biggest stage of all served to remind the club that they needed to sign a new goalkeeper, and they moved into the market to sign Brazil’s number one during the summer.
However, the complaints of the Liverpool supporters have consistently extended beyond the goalkeeper and into the back-four where Dejan Lovren has been exposed to a barrage of criticism in recent seasons. Glaring lapses in concentration and fundamental defensive errors served to frustrate the supporters, but the arrival of Virgil Van Dijk in January has enabled him to rid of the mistakes which previously tarnished his performances.
Lovren’s marked improvement did not prevent rumours regarding the arrival of a new central defender to emerge during the summer window as Domagoj Vida was heavily linked following his impressive World Cup showing. Liverpool decided not to sign a new centre-back in the end, and the former Liverpool player Danny Murphy believes their decision can be explained by Joe Gomez’s development during the past twelve months.
Whilst featuring on The Debate as presented by Sky Sports, Murphy cited Joe Gomez as the reason why Liverpool didn’t venture into the market to sign a new central defender. Murphy described Gomez as a “super athlete” who is “powerful, calm, decent enough with the ball”, and on the evidence of his career so far it’s difficult to argue against this point of view.
Klopp has just 4 senior central defenders to chose from at this moment in time: Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Matip, Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez. For a title-challenging side that represents the absolute bare bones as a serious injury to one of the aforementioned players would leave the Reds in a precarious situation.
But Klopp’s decision to trust in the 4 players – particularly Gomez – is a testament to how highly regarded they are and how far Gomez has come since he broke into the first-team last season. The 21-year-old is a centre-back by trade, but he was not initially trusted to play in the centre and he spent most of his time deputising at right-back whilst Nathaniel Clyne was injured.
However, it’s clear from the quality of his performances that he is most comfortable when operating at centre-back and Klopp’s decision to stick with the 4 players strongly suggests that he will return to his natural position for the entirety of the season. With Clyne fully fit once again Klopp was faced with a complex decision this summer regarding the need to bring in further defensive reinforcements.
The fact he opted against bringing in a new player strongly suggests that he trusts Gomez is technically and mentally ready to play a key role in Liverpool’s title bid, so it’s fair to say that Murphy has hit the nail on the head with his assessment.
Liverpool fans – thoughts? Let us know below!