- Martin Keown urges Jurgen Klopp to put his faith in Joe Gomez
- Pundit believes young defender should create new partnership with Virgil van Dijk
- Dutchman could become immediate first choice centre-back
- SEE MORE: Pearce reveals drastic measures Liverpool took to seal Van Dijk deal
Martin Keown believes young Joe Gomez could prove to be the ideal partner for Liverpool’s record signing Virgil van Dijk.
Gomez has featured predominantly at right-back this season, but Keown believes it is time for Jurgen Klopp to shift him into his favoured central role.
It remains to be seen how Klopp plans to proceed with his bolstered defensive options, with Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan also fighting for starting spots.
Though Klopp continues to express his faith in all three, he will undoubtedly be tempted by the athleticism and maturity of Gomez, who has arguably been Liverpool’s most accomplished defender so far this season.
“What Klopp should do now is use this as an opportunity to form a new partnership in the heart of Liverpool’s back-line, by moving Joe Gomez into the middle to play alongside his record signing,” Keown wrote in the Daily Mail.
“While Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip are too cumbersome and lack mobility, Van Dijk and Gomez are both quick players who would complement each other well.”
“Gomez has earned his stripes playing out wide but at times, such as in last week’s 3-3 draw at Arsenal, he has looked like a centre-half playing at right back. It is time for Gomez to be given his chance at centre-back.”
Moving Gomez centrally is a tactical adjustment a number of Reds have been demanding since the opening weeks of the season.
Whilst the stuttering form of Matip can be partially put down to his disruptive short-term injury problems, Lovren continues to concern with familiar costly errors.
Neither the pair nor Ragnar Klavan have performed at the standard capable of helping mount a title challenge this season, although the latter has enjoyed his best run of form since signing for the club in recent weeks.
A partnership of Van Dijk and Gomez promises aerial ability, power, pace and composure- all of which make them players capable of injecting some calmness into the way Liverpool defend.
Klopp’s back four requires a fresh approach and they could be the men to give him that.