‘I’d have been off…’ – £85k-p/w Liverpool stalwart admits he was ‘close’ to leaving Anfield

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Joe Gomez is the longest-serving member of Liverpool’s current first-team squad and the last remnant from Brendan Rodgers’ reign, but the 26-year-old has admitted that his Anfield career could’ve ended a lot sooner if things had played out differently.

The £85,000-per-week defender (Capology) was speaking to the We Are Liverpool podcast about his time on Merseyside so far, and he revealed that he would probably have left the club if Virgil van Dijk had signed before the start of the 2017/18 season rather than midway through it.

The Reds’ number 2 said: “In eight or nine years it was never going to be plain sailing the whole time. I have had periods where it was like, is it time? I was close to going on loan a couple of times.

“I told Virg if you’d have come in the summer [of 2017] I’d have been off, the ship would have sailed and I probably would have gone on loan.

“But stuff like that happens for a reason and for me to come back from my injury, to feel better physically and mentally, to put the work in and have the guidance to be a better athlete on paper, to get that reassurance and to play and earn another [contract], it was an important moment for me.”

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Gomez has overcome three long-term injuries throughout his time at Liverpool to remain a permanent fixture at the club from the first day that Jurgen Klopp came through the door, seeing every one of his teammates from October 2015 depart while he’s stayed put.

Apart from three FA Cup appearances, his entire 2016/17 season was written off by injury, and it could’ve been easy for Anfield chiefs to cut their losses with him at that point, but an ironic twist of fate saw him go straight into the team upon regaining fitness due to the enforced absence of Nathaniel Clyne.

From that point, the 26-year-old has never looked back – even if he hasn’t quite made himself a guaranteed starter for the Reds (22 is his highest tally of starts in a Premier League campaign), his versatility – and indeed ability – has made him an invaluable presence in the squad.

Gomez’s true value has come to the fore in recent weeks amid injury layoffs to Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kostas Tsimikas and Andy Robertson, with the ex-Charlton man filling the left-back void with aplomb despite it not being his natural position.

Another club or regime may well have dispensed with him six-and-a-half years ago, but thankfully those in power at Liverpool stood by him, and that faith has been well and truly repaid.

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