LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 9, 2021: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino (L) celebrates after scoring the third goal, his second, with team-mate Joe Gomez during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético Osasuna at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Joe Gomez cherishes monumental step of enjoying “special Anfield atmosphere”

It was another step closer to full fitness for Joe Gomez as he added another 60 minutes to his pre-season tally nine months on from his serious knee injury.

The second successive friendly at Anfield on Monday night allowed Jurgen Klopp to inject minutes into the legs of the majority of his squad with less than five days until the season opener.

Notably, nearly 60 of those were handed to Gomez to see him accumulate just over 120 minutes for the summer in what has proved a monumental step toward resuming his role as a regular for Klopp.

It’s been a long road back for the 24-year-old with this the latest serious injury he has had to overcome, but he has shown he remains the impressive defender he always was.

And the return to Merseyside to play in front of a crowd of up to 40,000 was appreciated that little bit more after the journey he has undertaken to be able to have the opportunity.

“It was a long road, one that made me really appreciate today. Not just today, just being back with boys and training again, I’m loving it,” Gomez told LFCTV.

“I didn’t need the perspective but I definitely got further insight into how much of a blessing it is to play in front of this crowd. It was a special atmosphere again.

“Maybe in the warm-up [tried to soak it up] a bit, but in the game I try to stay focused, but we’re so lucky to have support like this and a stadium that creates such a special atmosphere.

“Obviously, for the likes of me and Virg, these are monumental moments for us and one that I really enjoyed for sure.

“Psychologically there are so many little hurdles like just heading the ball for the first time, match, experiencing that pre-match feeling.

“So many little hurdles that you have to overcome and probably go unnoticed to many but when you’ve not done it for so long, nine or ten months, it is a process you have to retrain again.”

The centre-back last played at Anfield on October 31 and was able to enjoy the presence of fans whilst on the pitch for the first time in 516 days.

Gomez lined up alongside new signing Ibrahima Konate, who is in the running to start the Premier League season on Saturday with Joel Matip should Virgil van Dijk be given more time.