Joe Gomez has acknowledged the need to be “patient” ahead of his return to action with the LFC Under-23s on Wednesday night.
Gomez was sidelined for over a year after tearing his ACL while on duty with the England U21s last October, and made his first outing under Jurgen Klopp during the November international break.
The 19-year-old played 45 minutes in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Accrington Stanley, with Klopp saying after the game that “he’s good. But there’s absolutely no rush.”
He certainly plays a part in Klopp’s long-term plans, and with the German utilising him at centre-back—rather than at full-back, he must trust him to perform what is a demanding role.
Speaking as he continues his recovery on the training field at Melwood, Gomez stressed this would motivate him to recapture his place.
“The way the team is playing, it is the sort of team you want to play for,” he explained this week.
“It’s going to make it a challenge to get back in and around it. It’s a great team to play for and that’s what you aspire to do.”
However, with Klopp taking a cautious approach with the former Charlton Athletic youngster, Gomez is aware it will take time before he makes his return to the first-team fold.
“It was a tough year for me, but it meant a lot to get my first minutes [back] on the pitch,” he continued.
“It was a long time away from it. It meant a lot and it was a relief to get playing again. I dreamt of it for a long time, as you can imagine, so it was good.
“After a long-term injury, you’ve got to be careful with how far you push it.
“I’ve just got to be patient and build up my minutes, gradually taking my time getting back to full fitness. It’s all part of the journey.”
Despite clearly being eager to get back onto the pitch alongside his team-mates, Gomez’s view is a sensible one, with game time for the Liverpool U23s his next step – starting on Wednesday night when Michael Beale’s side next take on Burnley in the Lancashire Senior Cup.
Gomez is then expected to be involved in the Premier League 2 clash away to Derby County next Monday night.