How Joe Gomez completed remarkable comeback to help salvage Liverpool’s title bid

Joe Gomez’s stunning resurgence has been crucial to Liverpool keeping their head above water in this season’s title race – and this doesn’t look set to change as the club braces itself for an intense title climax.

A player who had been straddling the club’s fringes for four years – perennially linked with a transfer away – Gomez has turned from an injury-prone liability to Jurgen Klopp’s ever-available utility man.

Filling in and excelling across the Reds’ back line as injuries mounted, the 26-year-old’s dependability hasn’t gone unnoticed – earning a first England call-up since 2020 for a pair of friendlies in late March.

And as the Premier League title race prepares to enter its final stretch, Gomez looks set to remain a regular fixture in Liverpool’s side after the club suffered yet another untimely fitness blow.

Andy Robertson was forced off with an ankle injury in Scotland’s 1-0 defeat to Northern Ireland on Tuesday, sparking fears that the left-back could be staring down the barrel of another lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The Reds have already felt the wrath an international break can bring when it comes to their star Scotsman. They spent three months without Robertson this season after he suffered a dislocated shoulder while on Scotland duty in October.

It was during this period that Gomez first began to return to prominence. Assuming a role he hadn’t played since his first-ever Liverpool game against Stoke in 2015, the Englishman began to consistently impose himself on games down the left flank.

As well as acting as a source of stability at the back, he demonstrated attacking prowess never seen before – the player is notorious for never having scored a goal in his near decade-long professional career.

However, Gomez’s contributions weren’t solely limited to left-back. As defensive injuries began to pile up at the tail end of 2023, with Joel Matip and Kostas Tsimikas joining Robertson on the sidelines, Gomez was required to fill in across the entire back four.

It was here that the Charlton Athletic academy product proved his versatility, shining at both centre-back and full-back to the delight and pleasant surprise of Reds fans – many of whom had become disillusioned with the defender after underwhelming recent seasons.

This was recognised by Klopp, who was quick to hail Gomez for undergoing such a renaissance.

“He didn’t have a good year last year but he is absolutely back to his best,” Klopp said in December. “He is still a young man – it is crazy to think that. He is just for us a super important player. He can play all the positions at the back and that is very important.”

Gomez celebrates with Diogo Jota in Liverpool’s 5-2  win over Norwich City in the FA Cup (Getty)
Gomez celebrates with Diogo Jota in Liverpool’s 5-2 win over Norwich City in the FA Cup (Getty)

As Liverpool’s injury crisis began to drastically exacerbate after the turn of the year, the club was in dire need of players to remain both fit and in form, with the risk of slipping out of the title race looming.

And in keeping with an array of Klopp’s understudies, Gomez continued to come up with goods – so much so that come Robertson’s return to fitness, there was no immediate desire to thrust him back in the lineup.

Since the Scotland captain’s reintegration into the side, Liverpool have had the luxury of rotating Gomez and Robertson for games – a welcome security during a time of stretched availability.

However, with Robertson’s latest injury potentially seeing him sidelined for the foreseeable future, Gomez could once again be called upon to keep the Reds out of hot water as the Premier League run-in reaches boiling point.

If his season so far is anything to go by, Reds supporters shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Gomez’s incredible transformation into Liverpool’s “Mr Dependable” has played a vital part in keeping the club fully in the mix for the title thus far, and with his confidence sky-high, his performances aren’t expected to wane.

He’ll similarly be eager to keep up his good form, with his silverware ambitions for the coming months sure to go beyond club level.

After being handed his first England call-up for four years earlier this month, the defender had the chance to leave an impression on Gareth Southgate in what were the Three Lions’ final friendlies before the Euro 2024 squad selection is confirmed.

Gomez in action for England on his first national team call-up since 2020 (The FA/Getty)
Gomez in action for England on his first national team call-up since 2020 (The FA/Getty)

Clearly in the England manager’s thoughts after a stellar campaign, Klopp is unsurprisingly a strong advocate for Gomez to have a seat on the plane.”

“I am not standing here telling Gareth who he should pick but you can get one player and have four positions covered. Wonderful,” said Klopp.

“If you play football at this level, there is [a big] difference between centre-half, full-back, right, left, to the number six – and he is capable of that transition in his mind.

“He is one of those stories. What a wonderful player he is and I am so happy he can show that again.”

It doesn’t take much to imagine Gomez slotting into England’s starting XI at the Euros, let alone making the squad.

Southgate is short of options at left-back, with first-choice pick Luke Shaw ruled out for the tournament through injury.

And with Ben Chilwell failing to set the world alight in recent months – reflected by a pair of subpar outings during the recent international break – many have picked Gomez as the man they’d prefer to see get the nod in Germany.

His increased adoration is indicative of the rejuvenation he’s experienced this season, establishing himself as a reliable, indispensable figure at Anfield after years of struggling to make his mark.

If Liverpool are to overcome injury woes to claim a fairytale Premier League title in Klopp’s farewell season, it’s unlikely that Gomez will be among the first names to earn the plaudits. But with success stories comes unsung heroes, and given his vast contributions this year, the Englishman would certainly fit into that category.