Liverpool train ahead of Champions League trip to Ajax
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Joe Gomez’s performance in Liverpool’s 1-0 win against Manchester City made former Reds defender Glen Johnson believe he was England’s best centre-back. Johnson has urged Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate to include Gomez in his 2022 World Cup squad if he continues producing displays of the same ilk.
The 25-year-old was named Man of the Match as Liverpool halted Man City’s relentless winning run and extended their horror record at Anfield. And with World Cup season on the horizon, he would’ve undoubtedly caught Southgate’s eye as he draws up his provisional squad.
John Stones and Eric Dier are considered dead-certs to line up in a back three this winter, but the third spot is up for debate. Usual mainstay Harry Maguire has only just returned from injury and is in poor form, with the likes of Ben White and Conor Coady fighting to replace him in the side. But Johnson has talked up Gomez’s chances.
He told Midnite: “When I was watching Gomez against Man City, I definitely thought he would get back into the England squad for the World Cup. He was in control against top players. At the time, I was thinking he is England’s best centre-back.”
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Gomez’s performance in the 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest a week later was the opposite of his masterclass against the champions. Johnson cited focus and potential complacency as the reasoning but insisted he would start the Reds star at the World Cup if he rediscovers that level before England jet off to Qatar.
“But you can’t play to that level and then play how he did against Forest the week after,” Johnson added. “It’s just concentration. Maybe Liverpool took Nottingham Forest for granted and their foot off the pedal slightly, but if he can reach that form he showed against Man City, for me, he starts for England.”
Southgate is expected to name a provisional 55-man squad in the coming days before trimming down and taking 26 players to the tournament, his third major showcase as boss. He will almost certainly include Gomez in the provisional list, but whether he’s done enough to make the final cut remains to be seen.
Once Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip return from injury, Gomez’s minutes could be limited again. But he’s likely to get a few more chances to impress before Southgate makes his final decision in early November.
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