Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that young defender Joe Gomez is on track in his recovery from a heel problem, but is not primed for a comeback yet.
The 19-year-old endured a setback as he looked to return from an ACL injury, with a heel problem surfacing during pre-season.
Gomez is yet to feature under Klopp, and last turned out for Liverpool in October of last year, playing the full 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw with FC Sion in the Europa League.
However, Klopp has revealed himself a big admirer of Gomez’s talents, and has earmarked a key role for him in his squad in the future.
The former Charlton Athletic youngster has showcased a strong resolve as he continues his rehabilitation, and Klopp provided an update on his fitness on Thursday morning.
“[He is doing] good. Not in team training but good,” he told reporters at Melwood.
“Everything that he is doing at the moment he is doing without problems, so that’s good.
“But, of course, he has a little way to go.”
Gomez is pencilled in to return to first-team training towards the end of October, though it is likely that he won’t feature for Klopp’s side until long after that date.
Danny Ings suffered a similar injury at the same point last year, and while his recovery had fewer complications, he has made just two substitute appearances for the German so far.
The first came away to West Bromwich Albion on the final day of the 2015/16 league campaign in May, while his most recent first-team outing was on Tuesday night, replacing Philippe Coutinho just after the hour mark in Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Derby County in the League Cup.
However, Ings has also struggled for game time due to heavy competition for a starting role in attack, with Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi all preferred.
Klopp has fewer options in defence, and Gomez’s ability to play in any role across the back line with boost his prospects.
He spent much of his time under Brendan Rodgers operating as a left-back, though given his height, composed ball-playing ability and defensive quality, his long-term role should be at centre-back.
Only time will tell where Klopp sees Gomez playing, however, and it remains a waiting game for the youngster.