Reds defender Joe Gomez explains how Lucas Leiva and Danny Ings are helping overcome ACL surgery.
Gomez sustained ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while playing for England under-21s during the international break last month, ruling him out for nine months.
Having enjoyed an impressive start to his first season in the top flight, the injury was a blow to both the teenager himself and Liverpool – whose defensive options are now severely restricted due to injuries.
Gomez started the campaign as Brendan Rodgers’ first choice left back and was the ideal player to provide cover right across the defensive positions.
In a double blow for new boss Jurgen Klopp, Danny Ings also suffered an ACL injury while away with England in Klopp’s first week in charge.
“Having Danny there for support has really helped to keep me going,” Gomez told the Liverpool Echo.
“I was gutted for him when I found out he had also done his ACL. He was flying – scoring goals for Liverpool and getting his chance with England.”
Gomez and Ings are two of the six Premier League player to have suffered a cruciate ligament injury this season while wearing Nike football boots – something the US sports manufacturer have previously called ‘an unhappy coincidence’.
“I was absolutely devastated,” explained Gomez after his injury was finally diagnosed.
Initially, England’s medical team had thought the injury not to be serious. “When I came back to Liverpool, I knew I wasn’t going to be fit for the manager’s first game at Tottenham but I was hoping I’d be back available before too long.
“The physio Chris (Morgan) and the doctor (Andy Massey) didn’t say anything before the scan but my knee had swollen up and I think they knew straightaway.
“When they got the results, I could tell by the doctor’s face that it wasn’t good news. To be told it was my cruciate was tough to take.”
Gomez and Ings underwent surgery together in London and are now rehabilitating side-by-side, but it’s unlikely either will play again this season.
It’s an injury that long-serving midfielder Lucas Leiva suffered in 2011, just as he was hitting his best form for the club.
“Lucas has been brilliant in terms of giving me advice and keeping me positive,” explains Gomez. “Every day I see him he talks me through this stage of the injury and how it went for him.
“There have been times when you think the knee won’t be able to bend the same as it did and he’s been there to reassure me. He says: ‘don’t worry, it’s fine’.
“Everything he’s told me so far about what to expect has been spot on. Seeing how Lucas has been able to get back playing at the highest level spurs me on.
“It’s great to have someone around who has been through the same thing.”