Jurgen Klopp heaps praise on 'life saver' defender following semi-final triumph

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was in a jubilant mood after his side sealed a spot in the Carabao Cup final, heaping praise on Joe Gomez, a player he described as a "life saver".

Following his side's 3-2 aggregate win over Fulham, sealed with a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage on Wednesday night, the Reds boss showed appreciation for the defender and how he has stepped up to play a key role just as his side faced multiple injury setbacks.

With Joel Matip out for the season, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kostas Tsimikas currently sidelined, and Andrew Robertson just making his return, Gomez has played more games this season so far than he probably would ever have expected.

"Without Joey, nothing would have happened in the last 13, 14 weeks since Robbo is out," the German said following the game.

First-choice left-back Robertson has been sidelined since October with a dislocated shoulder; the Scotsman was quickly joined in the treatment room by his replacement in the side, Kostas Tsimikas, who broke his collarbone in the 0-0 draw with Manchester United.

Since then, Gomez, who has also filled in for the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold on the opposite side, has made the left-back position his own.

“He’s played exceptional," said Klopp, who described him as a "real defender" and a "life saver” since coming into the team.

He also was quick to remind the gathered journalists about how important Gomez was "in the best years we had", during the seasons when the Reds followed up winning the Champions League by winning the Premier League.

Now, though, with Robertson returning to a matchday squad for the first time since his injury, it remains to be seen how long Gomez can hold down the left-back spot.

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