independent– Joe Gomez fears he will miss the rest of the season and potentially the European Championships, after suffering an injury in England training on Wednesday.
The Liverpool defender went for a scan immediately, with results expected to come through on Thursday. While nothing will be known for certain until then, sources say there were immediate concerns with how he fell, given no one else around him. Some watching on thought he had potentially caught his studs in the turf, although that was unconfirmed.
The hope on Wednesday night was that Gomez hadn’t suffered a recurrence of the anterior cruciate ligament injury that put him out of action a few seasons ago.
Goalkeeper Nick Pope revealed the anguish among his England teammates after Gomez went down.
“Joe made a pass or movement with nobody around him and ended up on the floor and was obviously in a great deal of pain. To see Joe go through something like that and see how much pain he was in wasn’t easy for me or any of the lads.”
The severity of the injury will dictate whether Liverpool go into the transfer market in January, as Jurgen Klopp adapts to an ongoing injury crisis. Andy Robertson is now the only member of his first-choice defence not to have suffered significant time out this season. Most prominently, Liverpool have already lost Virgil van Dijk for the rest of the season.
England manager Gareth Southgate meanwhile pointed to Gomez’s misfortune as an example of the toll on players this season, and stated that he had argued for the introduction of five subs – a current source of debate in the Premier League – in the Nations League.
“The substitutes, my only comment was we pushed for that in the Nations League. That wasn’t in place in September, we felt it should have been and ironically the chairman played a big part in pushing for that. It’s an elite competition and it’s seeded and we felt it would help us with player welfare and trying to protect the players within this period so we felt was a no-brainer.
“The schedule is a broader thing and I’m not in a position to affect that. Or the calendar, the fixtures are in place. It requires everybody from Fifa, Uefa, national organisations to organise the calendar is complicated but it was possible. The timing of the next World Cup made everything possible. There was opportunity, but that opportunity was missed and whether that can be rectified is to be seen.”
“With Joe, we knew the load he has had in the last six weeks or so. We gave him and the other players who had been in European matches who played Sunday, an extra day’s recovery. Yet still something like this has happened.
“There are lots of discussions about extra subs. But the bigger picture here is, everybody in the game needs to work together.
“There was an opportunity this year to think differently. The pandemic has thrown up all sorts of difficulties for people. But everybody has tried to cram the programme into a smaller period.
“We are going to see injuries. It’s a desperately sad situation. When you see the impact on an individual, it hits home even more.
“A lot of these discussions should have happened in the summer. We could have adjusted the calendar in its entirety and all worked together. But people haven’t done that.”
Southgate had earlier expressed sympathy for Gomez, but also concern at the nature of the incident.
“I can’t tell you how serious it is because he’s yet to have scans. What was upsetting was to see him in a fair bit of pain. There was nobody around him when it happened and I didn’t like that element of it. We’ve got to wait for the scan.
“We can’t speculate on the exact nature of the injury. Our immediate thoughts are with him because he’s had difficulties in the past. We are hoping and praying that it won’t be a long one, but we will just have to see.”
“I hate to see any of our players suffer and there is nothing worse… one of the worst things as an international manager is that you are borrowing players and something happens on your watch and you feel a responsibility and you start to go back but in this instance there is just nothing we would have done differently.
“But, yeah, you just don;t want to see players missing for any lengthy period of time. Having been a player, that’s the toughest thing in the sport and Joe’s experienced that a couple of times which is why we are even more hopeful that this isn’t that sort of situation.”