Liverpool defender Joe Gomez made his first appearance in 13 months in Sunday’s 5-0 behind-closed-doors friendly win over Accrington Stanley.
Gomez was sidelined with an ACL injury in October of last year, before suffering a setback in his recovery in the summer, meaning he had not featured since Jurgen Klopp‘s arrival.
But the Reds manager was finally able to select his 19-year-old star as Melwood welcomed League Two side Stanley for a low-key clash, with Gomez playing out the whole second half.
Gomez’s inclusion was the biggest positive, having spent a nightmare stretch in the treatment room at Liverpool’s training facility.
The former Charlton Athletic youngster, who impressed in his initial Anfield outings following a £3.5 million move from the Valley in 2015, can now target a first-team return in the future.
It could still be a long way in the distance, but this represents a significant milestone for Gomez.
Klopp has publicly backed Gomez since his initial injury on duty with the England Under-21s last year, and will be hoping to utilise his versatility at some stage this season.
Gomez is arguably at his best at centre-back, and in the past has stressed this is his preferred position, but he can also turn out at both left- and right-back.
The 49-year-old will, however, be eager for no definitive judgements to be made following Gomez’s appearance against Stanley.
Klopp will continue to take a patient approach to Gomez’s recovery, and he is unlikely to play for the first team before 2017.