Liverpool have confirmed Joe Gomez will undergo surgery following a fractured leg, with the club’s update on his return date not particularly encouraging.
Gomez has been sidelined since the 3-1 win at Burnley in December, and has missed the last 11 games, with his layoff initially expected to be up to six weeks.
But with the centre-back suffering a setback in his recovery, it has been ruled that he now requires surgery and will miss a considerably longer period.
The club confirmed the news on Monday morning, explaining that “no timescale will be placed on an expected return date for Gomez, though it’s likely he will feature again this season.”
Given he was pencilled in for a return after the trip to Brighton on January 12, this is a significant blow, and it seems unlikely he will play a major role in the Reds’ title challenge in the final months of the season.
This is particularly frustrating with this coming days after the January transfer window closed, with Jurgen Klopp insisting he would only make additions to his squad in the event of an injury crisis.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dejan Lovren are also currently sidelined, while Joel Matip has struggled with persistent injuries since joining from Schalke in 2016.
To compound this, Virgil van Dijk will miss the first leg of Liverpool’s Champions League last-16 clash with Bayern Munich due to suspension, while Nathaniel Clyne was allowed to leave on loan early on in the winter window.
These absences have seen the likes of James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Rafa Camacho and Ki-Jana Hoever fill in at the back in recent weeks.
Speaking to LiverpoolFC.com, Klopp explained the decision for Gomez to have surgery came with his long-term future in mind.
“It’s a blow for the boy and for us—because prior to the injury he was in such fantastic shape,” the manager said.
“But he is too valuable to take any risk with, both for our present and future, so we get this procedure done and he comes back when he’s ready.
“His attitude during this rehab has been outstanding but it just hasn’t healed as we’d have liked so we will make this intervention and then he will come back.”
Liverpool currently have two fit centre-backs, and no fit specialist right-backs.