A pundit has offered a reason behind a Liverpool centre-back’s struggles this year, and also believes his woes are being exacerbated by certain teammates.
Liverpool limped out of the gate this season and barring a few bright sparks, have continued to struggle. They did rack up 15 points in their Champions League group, as well as hand Man City their only league loss this season.
They also handed out a pair of trademark thumpings when putting nine past Bournemouth and seven past Rangers.
However, consistency has been lacking and prior to Sunday’s game against Tottenham, their league record stands at four wins, four draws and four defeats.
They’re already in a battle just to secure Champions League qualification for next season. Theories of all shapes and sizes have been posed as to why Jurgen Klopp’s side are struggling.
Injuries, players on the decline, burn-out after the quadruple near-miss, a lack of investment in the market and Klopp’s seven-year itch have all been touted.
However, one area most observers agree is a major issue is the midfield.
Liverpool’s pressing numbers are way down and currently slot them around mid-table when compared to the rest of the league. A lack of intensity in midfield allows opposition playmakers time and space to pick out a pass where once they barely had time to blink.
The end result is Liverpool’s high defensive line continues to get exposed, with Joe Gomez in particular struggling to cope.
Gomez has produced fine displays against Man City and Everton specifically. However, those two performances are very much against the grain in what’s been a poor season so far for the centre-half.
Now, speaking to Football Insider, former Aston Villa full-back, Alan Hutton, suggested a reason why Gomez is struggling.
Worrying Gomez trait named; midfield not helping
Hutton reckons Gomez has a worrying habit of switching off and losing concentration.
That trait would be worrying at the best of times, though Hutton also feels the fact Liverpool’s defence is being attacked far more frequently than it used to be is putting Gomez under the microscope more and more.
“I do feel sorry for him as a defender,” said Hutton.
“I understand that these situations come up. Maybe a lack of concentration, a different formation, whatever.
“We know he is a good player but when you are at Liverpool you have to play at a high level, consistently, week in week out.
“You are under a microscope at times and I think that is where his problems come from, that consistency. He maybe just switches off now and then.
“This Liverpool team are not used to being attacked as much with the defence being put under so much pressure.
“With [Ibrahima] Konate coming back breathing down his neck, you do feel for Gomez but you need to play at a high level week in week out to stay in the team.“
Liverpool deals can ease centre-back woes
Gomez has featured more than he might’ve expected this season due to injuries sustained by Joel Matip and Konate.
He’s come in for stinging criticism of late, even being branded “dreadful” by one observer.
However, Liverpool still clearly believe Gomez has a future at Anfield after offering him a long-term extension back in July. Gomez put pen to paper, committing his future to the Reds until 2027.
While it’s fair to say he hasn’t enjoyed the best of seasons, Hutton’s point about the defence being attacked more is valid.
Liverpool will hope to rectify that change in the coming windows by overhauling their midfield. Konrad Laimer is a reported target in January, but the big prize remains Jude Bellingham next summer.