Joe Gomez has undergone surgery to correct the knee injury that he suffered in England training on Wednesday. Liverpool say the operation to the tendon was a success and that he has avoided ligament damage. Although the club do not want to put a timeframe on his recovery, they have not ruled out the possibility of him returning before the end of the campaign.
Gomez’s injury has deepened Liverpool’s defensive selection crisis and shaken up his England teammates. The luckless 23-year-old missed the 2018 World Cup because of serious injury. The goalkeeper, Nick Pope, who will start in tonight’s Wembley friendly against the Republic of Ireland, said on Wednesday: “Joe made a pass or a movement with no one around him and ended up on the floor. He was in a great deal of pain. When you see one of your friends or teammates go through that, it’s not easy.”
Jürgen Klopp, who sold centre-half Dejan Lovren in July and did not sign cover, is already without his star central defender Virgil van Dijk (knee ligaments), as well as Trent Alexander-Arnold (calf). He has been without Fabinho, who has played at centre-half, because of a hamstring injury, although he hopes to have him back after the international break. His only other established option in central defence is Joël Matip, who has just returned from a muscular problem.
Gomez had played virtually every minute of Liverpool’s seven games in 22 days since the October international break and Southgate said he had given him an extra day of recovery at the start of the week following his involvement in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Manchester City. “And yet this has still happened,” Southgate said.
Like many managers, including Klopp, Southgate is frustrated at the volume of matches that the players have been asked to play in this most unusual of seasons. He believes it will lead to many more unfortunate injuries.
“What was upsetting was to see that Joe was in a fair bit of pain and the fact was there was nobody around him when the injury happened so I didn’t like that element of it,” he said. “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.”