Virgil van Dijk hails Liverpool teammate as 'one of the players of the season'

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk has called teammate Joe Gomez 'outstanding' and 'maybe one of the players of the season' for his versatile displays amid the Reds' injury crisis.

Liverpool have suffered badly with injury and availability issues throughout 2023/24, particularly since the turn of the year.

Jurgen Klopp had to make do with a full XI of missing players for the recent Carabao Cup final win over Chelsea and FA Cup fifth round victory against Southampton, with several academy stars required to step up.

While the likes of Jayden Danns, Conor Bradley, Bobby Clark and more have earned plaudits for their displays during the Reds' hour of need, Klopp was quick to direct attention to the role of Gomez, who has filled in across multiple roles this season.

Speaking after the win over Southampton, Klopp said of the 26-year-old who played the match in an unfamiliar holding midfield role: "Joe Gomez saved our lives 20 times tonight and the kids kept us in the competition,” he said. “So we can talk about the boys but but the real story today is Joe Gomez."

The manager's praise has since been backed up by Van Dijk.

The skipper has revealed that such was the lack of preparation time between games that Liverpool and Gomez didn't have much of a chance to work on the new midfield position ahead of Wednesday's FA Cup tie.

“Because there was such a short turnaround we didn't even work on it that much,” club captain Van Dijk told reporters. “We had a team meeting about Southampton and how we wanted to play, what to expect.

“But it was always going to be a bit difficult because you are not used to being there from the get-go. He [Gomez] can invert in but it’s a different scenario.”

Gomez deserves more credit

Van Dijk highlighted the underappraciated performance of his long-time defensive teammate, even calling Gomez one of the stars of the season.

Joe Gomez

25th February 2024 Wembley Stadium, London, England Carabao League Cup Final Football, Chelsea versus Liverpool Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp with Joe Gomez as the match goes into extra time.

He continued: “He did outstanding, big credit to him for him to perform at left-back, right-back, centre-half, six and does it on the high level.

“I'm just pleased for him and knowing what we have been through together a couple of years ago. And for him to be playing on that level is something he should get maybe more credit for.

“But he is a very close friend of mine and he is a very good player and has been outstanding. Maybe one of the players of the season this year.”

Gomez has made 36 appearances so far this season, already the second-most in a single campaign of his Liverpool career.

In those 36, the former Charlton star has played in all positions across the backline — particularly excelling at left back during the injury absences of Andy Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas — as well as in defensive midfield.

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