Soccer

Joe Gomez injury could force Liverpool into January transfer market to aid Jurgen Klopp’s defense

Liverpool could be forced into the January transfer window in a bid for defensive cover with Joe Gomez set to miss “a significant part of the remainder” of the season following surgery on his knee injury.

Gomez suffered the injury on international duty with England, damaging a tendon in his left knee. Though the injury is a significant blow to Jurgen Klopp and his plans for the remainder of the season it will be a minor note of relief that he did not damage any of the ligaments in his knee nor the patella bone.

Liverpool said in a statement: “The issue was isolated to Gomez’s tendon, with no damage to any other associated knee ligaments.

“The operation to correct the damage, which took place in London on Thursday morning, was a success and the 23-year-old will make a full recovery.

“Gomez will begin a rehabilitation program with the Reds’ medical team immediately, with club staff carefully monitoring his progress.

“No timescale is being placed upon his return, though the issue is likely to rule him out for a significant part of the remainder of 2020-21.”

Liverpool will also be without Virgil van Dijk for much of the campaign after the Dutch international suffered a knee issue of his own in the 2-2 draw with Everton last month. Amid further injuries across defense the loss of Gomez and Van Dijk leaves Klopp with only one fit senior central defender for much of this season and Joel Matip has suffered with injury issues of his own in the past.

Fabinho, who stepped into defense in Van Dijk’s absence, has missed several weeks with a thigh problem for which Liverpool are yet to confirm a timeline. Trent Alexander-Arnold could also miss around a month of action with a calf injury he suffered in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City.

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His numbers were further depleted before the start of the season when Dejan Lovren was allowed to depart for Zenit St Petersburg without being replaced. In the short term Klopp will have to lean on Nathaniel Phillips, 23, and 19-year-old Rhys Williams. The former is ineligible for Champions League games.

However it appears highly likely that Klopp will have to find another defender in the January transfer window, a period where Liverpool are reluctant to shop in general. Prior to Gomez’s injury the Premier League champions were linked with Ozan Kabak of Schalke.

Losing Gomez is also a significant source of disappointment for England manager Gareth Southgate, who had given the 23-year-old his debut at international level. The Liverpool center back was expected to play a key role in Nations League games against Iceland and Belgium that could earn the Three Lions passage to the Finals in October.

“What was upsetting was to see he was in a fair bit of pain and there was nobody around him when the injury happened, so I didn’t like that element of it,” Southgate said yesterday.

“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. And yet still something like this has happened.”



 

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