Liverpool’s Joe Gomez is an underrated talent, says club legend John Barnes

Liverpool legend John Barnes has described the club’s talented centre-back Joe Gomez as one of the most underrated players in the Premier League. 

Gomez has made an impressive start to the season, forging a partnership with Virgil van Dijk at the heart of a Liverpool defence which has conceded only five league goals in its opening 12 games. 

He has long been admired by the England manager Gareth Southgate and looked set to be included in the World Cup squad before injury scuppered his hopes. However, the 21-year-old has been a regular in the Nations League and started England’s dramatic 2-1 win over Croatia on Sunday in Harry Maguire’s absence. 


England vs Croatia player ratings





1/14 Jordan Pickford

2/14 Kyle Walker

3/14 Joe Gomez

4/14 John Stones

5/14 Ben Chilwell

6/14 Eric Dier

7/14 Fabian Delph

8/14 Ross Barkley

9/14 Marcus Rashford

10/14 Raheem Sterling

11/14 Harry Kane

12/14 Dele Alli

13/14 Jadon Sancho

14/14 Jesse Lingard

1/14 Jordan Pickford

2/14 Kyle Walker

3/14 Joe Gomez

4/14 John Stones

5/14 Ben Chilwell

6/14 Eric Dier

7/14 Fabian Delph

8/14 Ross Barkley

9/14 Marcus Rashford

10/14 Raheem Sterling

11/14 Harry Kane

12/14 Dele Alli

13/14 Jadon Sancho

14/14 Jesse Lingard

“One of the most underrated players in the Premier League,” said Barnes of the young Gomez. “He’s learning from one of the best defenders in the world and keeps improving, game after game.

“If England play a back five then he absolutely should be starting for me. [Harry] Maguire and [John] Stones just about pip him for an automatic place in a four-man defence.”

Barnes, who made 314 league appearances for Liverpool and earned 79 England caps, believes the success of Jurgen Klopp’s new-look defensive unit is a key reason for their fast start to the season, which has seen them go unbeaten in the Premier League with a 30-point haul.

“The main difference for Liverpool has been defensively, Virgil van Djik coming in last year has massively helped the defence. [Aymeric] Laporte and Stones have had great seasons, but for me Virgil van Dijk is the best defender in the Premier League. He’s the reason why Liverpool are keeping up with Manchester City this season.

“The keeper coming in has given everyone a real confidence boost. It’s been interesting to see the fans being more reassured and measured with this keeper, last season people would hold their breath at corners. But there is a confidence this year.

“There’s a better balance to the team than last season. Yes, they’re not steamrollering teams in the same way, but they’re winning games 1-0 and that’s down to the defensive signings they made in the summer.”

Next up for Liverpool is a trip to seventh-place Watford on Saturday, and Barnes warned that the Hornets present a stiff test – even if he is not entirely persuaded by the hype. 

“In spite of the perceived success of the Watford team this season, there is no real difference with Watford this year compared to last year, they always start well and consistently before Christmas. It’s after the Christmas break where they traditionally struggle.

“There is more stability this year, I like the manager and think he brings a good balance to the team. They should be aiming for a top ten finish as a minimum – although I don’t think they’re good enough for European football.” 

John Barnes was speaking exclusively for bookmaker comparison platform BonusCodeBets.co.uk

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