Football

Joe Gomez adds to Liverpool's defensive crisis

Liverpool defender to be out for 'significant part of season' after knee surgery

Liverpool's injury crisis in defence has deepened, with the news Joe Gomez is set for a spell on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury in England training.

The 23-year-old underwent surgery in London yesterday to fix a damaged tendon in his left knee, the club confirmed, adding that he suffered no ligament damage.

"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," said a statement on the club website.

The English Premier League champions are already expected to be without talismanic centre-back Virgil van Dijk for the rest of the season, after the Dutchman suffered cruciate ligament damage last month.

Right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold will miss the next month after picking up a calf injury in last Sunday's 1-1 draw at Manchester City, while Fabinho - who had deputised at centre-back in van Dijk's absence - is also recovering from a hamstring problem.

Gomez partnered Joel Matip in central defence against City and had been withdrawn from the England squad who faced Ireland this morning (Singapore time).

England also have Nations League matches coming up against Belgium on Monday morning and Iceland three days later.

England manager Gareth Southgate took the opportunity to criticise the packed schedule that has put huge demands on the players, due in no small part to the Covid-19 pandemic that meant the domestic seasons started later than normal.

Gomez has played 15 games for club and country in little over two months, with the EPL, Champions League and internationals coming thick and fast.

"There are lots of discussions about extra subs. But the bigger picture here is, everybody in the game needs to work together," Southgate said.

"With a winter World Cup (in 2022), there was an opportunity this year to think differently... But everybody has tried to cram the programme into a smaller period.

"We are going to see injuries. It's a desperately sad situation. When you see the impact on an individual, it hits home even more.

"These discussions should have happened in the summer. We could have adjusted the calendar in its entirety and all worked together. But people haven't done that."

While Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has been urged to sign a defender in the January window, former Reds midfielder Jamie Redknapp warned that it won't be easy.

INFLATED PRICES

Redknapp told Sky Sports: "If you've lost Gomez as well, you're certainly looking to try to bring in someone in January or as quickly as you can, be it a loan, be it a signing - but it's not going to be easy to get players in.

"Your hands are tied to a certain extent because straight away, everyone knows you're desperate, so the prices are going to get inflated.

"Defenders are at a premium because there are not many good ones around that can play like Virgil, that can defend like Joe Gomez, who is still a young man.

"I really hope it's weeks rather than months, but I don't like the rumours that are coming out of the squad."

The Reds, who are third on the EPL table, face leaders Leicester City after the international break. - REUTERS, AFP

Football