A rejuvenated Joe Gomez is eyeing up the 2017/2018 season as a new beginning for him at Liverpool and the opportunity to move on from his injury woes.
The 20-year-old saw a bright start to life on Merseyside cruelly cut short towards the end of 2015 when he picked up a season-ending knee injury. He didn’t return to training until late in 2016 and subsequently managed only three first team appearances last season.
After putting a frustrating period behind him, Gomez feels as though he is back to his strongest and finally ready to fight for his place.
Speaking on the first day of Liverpool’s pre-season training, he told Liverpoolfc.com: “100 per cent. I feel good, I feel fit, I feel sharp, I’m in a good place mentally and physically. I see it as a fresh start now, to go again, and just attack this season.”
“I’ve had a lot of tough periods and stuff, but I’m just grateful to be here and happy to go again. It’s nice to be at a place like this to do it.”
“Obviously you have bits where you know it’s going to be difficult, but it’s all part of it and you’re looking forward to getting the balls out and going again.”
“Everyone’s going to have done their work [over the summer] and everyone has programmes, but obviously we have to do the testing today and then push on from there. It’s just about getting stronger as pre-season progresses.”
The young defender was part of a 23-man cohort, including new signing Dominic Solanke, that returned to Melwood on Wednesday to get the summer preparations underway.
Pre-season could prove to be a defining period for the former Charlton man with Jurgen Klopp set to monitor his progress and current situation before deciding whether or not to send him out on loan ahead of the new Premier League campaign.
That said, Klopp has made it no secret that Gomez is part of his plans at Liverpool and will undoubtedly be reluctant to let him leave, even on a temporary deal.
Fans have waited a long time to see Gomez get back to full fitness and reach a position where he is capable of continuing his development, making a shared desire to see him stay relatively self-explanatory.