Move over Gomez: Klopp must now unleash Liverpool’s “phenomenal” £180k-p/w gem vs USG - opinion


Liverpool return to action tonight in the Europa League just days after their Premier League defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

It was a controversial game to say the least, especially with Luis Diaz’s goal being incorrectly ruled offside and Jurgen Klopp will be looking for his team to take some of their anger out on Union Saint Gilloise this evening as they look to return to winning ways.

Europe’s second-tier competition is proving to be a chance for the German to unleash a few of his young talents, with Ben Doak starting in their tie against LASK a few weeks ago and there could be another surprise or two tonight.

One player who must drop to the bench is Joe Gomez, who was deployed at right-back against Spurs and failed to shine.

The Englishman has spent the majority of this season operating on the right-hand side of the defence due to Trent Alexander-Arnold missing a few games through injury.

Gomez took his place on Saturday yet struggled against the Spurs frontline. He lost possession 17 times during his 74 minutes on the pitch while being dribbled past twice and winning five of his nine duels, suggesting that Richarlison got the better of him on a regular basis.

He was replaced with 15 minutes to go by Ibrahima Konate, while Alexander-Arnold made his return from injury against Spurs and the European tie tonight could represent a perfect chance for him to start his first match since Aston Villa on 3 September.

The defender played 16 minutes against the north Londoners and managed to record one key pass, deliver an accurate cross and take ten touches and the cameo was all about getting some minutes in his legs.

The £180k-per-week star has played five Premier League games thus far and ranks third across the Liverpool squad for key passes per game (two) and fourth for successful dribbles per game (one) and his attacking qualities will be a big boost for Klopp against the Belgian opposition.

Former Liverpool midfielder James Milner hailed the youngster back in 2018 when he was a talented gem making his way in the senior game, saying: "As an all-round player at such a young age, he is phenomenal and he’s just going to get better and better, which is the best thing. Because of his attitude and the way he is off the field, I can’t say enough good things about him really."

It's safe to say he has certainly kicked on over the previous five years and is making his mark on the continent when compared to his positional peers.

Indeed, Alexander-Arnold ranks in the top 4% for assists per 90 (0.29), the top 5% for shot-creating actions per 90 (3.67) and the top 2% for passes attempted per 90 (84.55), indicating that he is one of the finest players across Europe’s top five leagues with regard to these performance metrics.

Given his abilities at pushing forward at all times and creating chances for others, Klopp should unleash the player tonight, allowing him to regain some match fitness, especially with tougher tasks ahead.

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