Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk injuries puts huge stress on Liverpool squad, says Jamie Redknapp

Liverpool defender Joe Gomez injured his knee in England training and has withdrawn from the latest squad and returned to his club; fellow centre-back Virgil van Dijk is also out with a long-term knee injury; Fabinho and Joel Matip have also been struggling with injuries in recent games

Football Expert & Columnist

Wednesday 11 November 2020 21:01, UK

Joe Gomez joining Virgil van Dijk on the Liverpool injury list will put huge stress on the rest of the squad, Jamie Redknapp has told the Pitch to Post podcast.

Gomez has withdrawn from the latest England squad after injuring his knee in training, although it has not yet been announced how severe it could be.

It is another injury set-back for Premier League champions Liverpool, who lost Virgil van Dijk to a long-term knee injury in October, and have seen deputies Joel Matip and Fabinho also in and out of the squad with knocks in recent games.

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Speaking to the latest Pitch to Post podcast ahead of the November internationals, Sky Sports pundit Redknapp says the pressure will now increase on an already depleted Liverpool, and drew on his own injury experiences with England.

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He said: “I’m choked for Joe Gomez if it is a bad injury. He’s a young man who has already had knee injuries and come back brilliantly. I’m a big fan of his, he seems like a really good, down to earth player.

“I remember seeing him many years ago playing for Charlton in the FA Youth Cup and thinking ‘this is a star of the future’ and he’s certainly proved that at Liverpool. I just hope it’s not going to be anything too serious.

“From an England point of view, it’s a disappointment for Gareth Southgate, but for Jurgen Klopp, if this is a long-term one and you’ve got no Virgil, no Joe Gomez, that puts an enormous amount of stress on this squad from a team that were red-hot favourites at the start of the year.

“It’s certainly going to change things and for everybody else involved, that back two have been so impressive at times. It’s not been easy with no Virgil at the moment, but no Virgil and no Gomez is going to make it even more difficult.

“I suffered with injuries playing for England and it’s really hard to deal with because you’re so proud that you’re there but you also know it’s costing you an enormous amount of time in your career.

“I broke my ankle twice playing for England, tore my hamstring playing for England, it cost me an enormous amount of time. Of course you wouldn’t swap it for the world but there is something so frustrating because it should be the highlight to play for your country but when you come back injured, it’s frustrating for everybody.

“Right now, Liverpool need Joe. I thought he was unlucky with the penalty decision [against Man City] but his form has been really good and he’s looked like a real leader.

“When you’ve got someone like Van Dijk who is so instrumental and he leads from the front, sometimes you can afford to hide behind someone like that who is so great but without Virgil, everyone else has to step up and become a leader.

“I’m sure we were going to see Joe impress even more than before because of the pressure that was perhaps on him and you become even more serious about your business because you can’t rely on the colossus of Van Dijk.”

Should Liverpool buy in January?

The question now will be what Liverpool may look to do in the winter transfer window, which opens on January 2, if Gomez joins Van Dijk with a lengthy lay-off.

But Redknapp does not think it will be easy to sign a quality defender.

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He added to the Pitch to Post podcast: “It’s a difficult one. I’ve heard people say that they’ve got to go out and get a really big signing because Virgil is going to be injured, but if he goes through the right rehab to get fit, he’s not going to be too far away from coming back in maybe March or April time as a guess. Normally it’s six or seven months, he’s an incredibly fit guy and he’ll be a good healer.

“You don’t want to bring in someone for the sake of it for £40m or £50m because you know you’ve got someone coming back really quickly. But if you’ve lost Gomez as well, you’re certainly looking to get into the market and try and bring in someone in January or as quickly as you can, be it a loan, be it a signing – but it’s not going to be easy to get players in.

“Your hands are tied to a certain extent because straight away, everyone knows you’re desperate so the prices are going to get inflated. Liverpool have worked the market so well, they’ve not always bought the big stars, they’ve made then stars. Virgil may be the opposite, they paid £75m for him but what his fee now would be, maybe three times as much as that because he’s such an incredible player.

“Defenders are at a premium because there’s not many good ones around that can play like Virgil, that can defend like Joe Gomez, who is still a young man. I really hope it’s weeks rather than months but I don’t like the rumours that are coming out of the squad.”

What does Liverpool’s fixture schedule look like?

While the extent of Gomez’s injury is yet to be determined, it is another defensive blow for Liverpool.

The winter transfer window opens on January 2 and the Reds could be in the market for defenders if Gomez also faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines, but what are their fixtures like until then?

Jurgen Klopp’s side return to action on Saturday November 21 when they take on current league leaders Leicester, who they are just one point and two places behind in the Premier League table.

Liverpool’s remaining 2020 fixtures

In December, Liverpool will face Wolves and Tottenham at home as well as tricky away trips to Crystal Palace and Newcastle among their Premier League fixtures. They will also face Southampton on Saturday, January 2 – the day the winter transfer window opens.

Of course, there is also the Champions League group stage to tackle before the new year. Liverpool have three wins from three so far, and have two home fixtures to come – firstly, against Atalanta on Wednesday, November 25, before Ajax on Tuesday, December 1. A final away trip to Midtjylland follows on Wednesday, December 9.

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