Liverpool’s defensive woes deepen as Gomez faces spell on sidelines with knee injury
While the Reds have managed to cope reasonably well without Van Dijk, who came down with a bad case of ‘Pickfordnitis’ nearly a month ago, it remains to be seen whether they can survive the loss of another established centre-back.
The full extent of Gomez’s injury is still unknown, and will only be made clear once he undergoes further diagnosis on the issue with Liverpool’s medical team.
WATCH: Joe Gomez in England training
However, England boss Gareth Southgate painted a grim picture of Gomez’s injury. He said: “What was upsetting was to see he was in a fair bit of pain, and the fact there was nobody around him when the injury happened.
“We just have to wait and see what the scans show, and we are all hopeful for him that it is not what it might be. But it's not a good situation. I don't see him being involved in the games with us, that's for sure.
“My immediate thoughts are with him because he's had some difficulties with injuries with him in the past. So, we are praying it's not going to be a long-term one. But we just have to see.”
Given that Raheem Sterling couldn’t take Gomez down even after trying to chokeslam him late last year, it is an incredibly worrying sign for Liverpool that their defender crumpled to the ground with no one near him in a near perfect imitation of his Egyptian teammate.
The potential long-term loss of Gomez means Liverpool are now left with just one senior centre-back in Joel Matip. Full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold is also expected to miss the next few games after injuring himself against Manchester City in their 1-1 draw last weekend.
The good news for Jurgen Klopp, however, is that emergency centre-back Fabinho will likely be available for selection after the international break.
WATCH: Klopp has faith in Fabinho's ability to play in defence
But Liverpool aren’t the only team to be suffering from an injury crisis. Their title rivals, Manchester City, were also dealt an injury blow today, after defender Nathan Ake appeared to pick up a hamstring problem while playing in the Netherlands’ 1-1 draw with Spain.
The spate of injuries has led to several Premier League clubs voicing their concerns over the welfare of their players, with the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool all calling for the reintroduction of the five-substitute rule for the remainder of the Premier League season.
WATCH: Pep Guardiola discusses fixture congestion
Southgate himself was critical of the way games – both domestic and international – have been scheduled this season, with more matches being played in a shorter period due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Joe [is] a good example. We know the load he's had in the last six weeks so we gave him and the lads who'd been involved in European matches an extra day's recovery,” Southgate revealed. “And yet still something like this has happened. There are lots of discussions about extra subs and things like that.
“But the bigger picture here is that governing bodies, broader authorities need to work together. We have a winter World Cup in two years. There was an opportunity this year to think differently. The pandemic has thrown up all sorts of difficulties. But everybody's tried to cram the program into a smaller period and nobody has given way and people haven't collaborated enough.
“We are going to see injuries and it's a desperately sad situation because when you see the impact on an individual, it hits home even more. We're now trying to affect things too late…we could have adjusted the calendar in its entirety and all worked together. And people haven't done that.”