Joe Gomez is paving an increasingly difficult route back to Liverpool’s first team for Dejan Lovren thanks to his superb start to the season.
The Englishman registered another accomplished display beside Virgil van Dijk at centre-back against Brighton on Saturday to help Liverpool earn a third consecutive clean-sheet.
Early expectations that he would go on to become a long-term partner for Van Dijk are beginning to materialise into clear evidence of such potential.
Gomez has flourished alongside the Dutchman across the opening weeks of the campaign, showcasing notable improvement to his defensive conviction.
The 21-year-old has implemented a more balanced blend of maturity and aggression as an assertive retriever of the ball and a powerful aerial obstacle.
He has meanwhile reminded all of his talent as a distributor, implementing Jurgen Klopp’s desire to play out from the back and bridge defence to attack where possible.
Natural composure and calculation is now complimented by greater security in his decision-making and positional awareness, making for a prowling partnership alongside a man that epitomises calm in possession.
Saturday’s win saw the former Charlton prospect show no refrain in his ambition to step up with the ball, whilst also asserting an authority against Brighton’s long-balls towards Glenn Murray.
A Gomez brimming with this level of confidence and momentum will be tough to dislodge.
Here’s a look at his best bits..