Thu. Oct 22nd, 2020

‘Everyone wants to play’ – Gomez insists injury-hit Liverpool is ready for Everton FA Cup clash

3 min read

The Reds boss will be forced to make changes for the third-round tie against their city rivals

Joe Gomez insists Liverpool’s senior players are ready to play in Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Everton, despite suggestions Jurgen Klopp could make significant changes to his line-up.

For the second time in three seasons, the Reds welcome their cross-city rivals to Anfield for a plum third-round tie. Liverpool won 2-1 when the sides met in 2018, but this fixture comes at a difficult time for the Premier League leaders.

Not only did they play Sheffield United on Thursday night, a 2-0 win which maintained their 13-point lead at the top of the table, but they are also dealing with a growing injury list, with Naby Keita the latest player sidelined.

That leaves Klopp with only 13 senior outfield players available, and means he is likely to field an extremely young side against Everton. The manager confirmed on Friday that teenage striker Rhian Brewster will be in the squad, and he could be joined by Neco Williams, Harvey Elliott, Ki-Jana Hoever and Nathaniel Phillips, with Klopp insisting at his pre-match press conference that he would take the emotion out of his selection.

Despite the hurdles, Gomez says the core of his squad, most of whom have already handled a punishing schedule of 10 games in 35 games, are prepared to put their bodies on the line again if required.

“Yes 100%,” said the defender when asked if players wanted to play in the game. “I think if you asked everyone in the dressing room they all have that desire to play every game and I think that is what is important for us in this team. There is a real hunger and you feel it.

“There is no ‘oh I want to play this game and chill that one’. I think that shows and that is why when everyone comes in, the lads are playing well. They are really participating and helping the team.

“For me, I love every derby and it is a special game, every time. Regardless of whether it is a Premier League game or not, we go into it looking to win and I think that is self-explanatory. That is something that we look forward to and whatever will be will be. Everyone wants to play.

“There is no telling what the gaffer will do but we are used to the quick turnaround now and with four days [between Wolves and Sheffield United games] it was one more [day off] so it was nice to get that extra day of recovery. 

“At the same time, we want to win things, and it is the Merseyside derby and we never want to lose that so, we just take it one game at a time and just keep it going.”

Gomez himself has enjoyed an impressive return to form over the festive period, the 22-year-old helping Liverpool to a run of five successive Premier League clean sheets. His partnership with the imperious Virgil van Dijk, as it did at the start of last season, looks as good as anything around. 

“Obviously I am enjoying playing and getting some momentum,” Gomez said. “I get on well with Virg and we enjoy playing together. 

“I think as a unit, as a team, it is nice to be a part of it and get a run of games, so I am not dwelling on that, I just keep plugging away and take it a game at a time. 

“It is obviously nice to get momentum when you play games but I think the main thing is just to keep focus and take it one game at a time. We are in a good place and it is a joy to be a part of this team. 

“I think in the dressing room, there are so many that are leaders and are keeping everyone on the straight and narrow. That is the focus – one game at a time.”

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