We’ve still got one game left in the 2018-19 season and it could cap off an incredible season for the Reds if we achieve victory in Madrid.
But, despite how good we’ve been at the back, we’ve done it with mixed personnel, and we’ve done it without Joe Gomez.
Starting the season imperiously, the 21-year-old’s season was effectively put on hold in December after he sustained a lower leg fracture against Burnley.
We didn’t see him again until he came back into the fold in April, with his first real involvement coming against the 4-1 win over Porto in the second leg, after which he started at right-back against Barcelona in the first leg of the semis.
“It’s probably underestimated a bit how much it can affect us as footballers,” the Londoner told the official club site.
“Like it might just seem that you’re injured and now you just watch the boys, but it hurts – especially [in] a year like this that was pretty historic.
“To watch a large majority of those games, having had a taste of it at the beginning, was difficult to take. Obviously it was nice to overcome it and get a bit of involvement at the end.
“We’ve just got to move on now and we’ve got a big game. There’s a lot of ups and downs, but it’s all a learning curve.”
As a centre-back partnership, our first-choice duo has to be Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez. Although Joël Matip has stepped up admirably in his absence, the Van Dijk/Gomez axis is quick, intelligent, and solid.
It has been an undeniable shame that the young defender has missed so much football this season, but, as he says, having had other injuries in the past, it is all part of a learning curve for him.
We would expect Gomez to be hankering for a start against Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League, but with Matip having played alongside Van Dijk for the last few months it’s likely he’ll get the nod.