Liverpool forced to look for new centre-back due to Joe Gomez injury setback

Promising young defender Joe Gomez is unlikely to feature for Liverpool in pre-season after damaging his Achilles tendon, having yet to return from an anterior cruciate ligament injury he picked up last October.

Liverpool forced to look for new centre-back due to Joe Gomez injury setback
(Picture: Getty Images)

Liverpool will consider signing a new centre-back after news emerged that Joe Gomez has damaged his Achilles tendon.

The teenage defender is still recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury that has led to his nine-month absence from the first-team and was closing in on a return to outdoor training.

But the 19-year-old's rehabilitation has been dealt a major setback, with the England Under-21 international now unlikely to play any part in the Reds' pre-season.

It leaves Jürgen Klopp with decisions to make after Gomez's fellow centre half Mamadou Sakho also suffered a Achilles injury, leaving him out of training for three to four weeks. 

If it is revealed that Gomez will spend a similar length of time out, he is almost certain to miss the start of the Premier League season, with Liverpool still waiting to learn the full extent of the issue.

With Kolo Toure released and Martin Skrtel's £5.5 million move to Fenerbahce now official, only Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren are fit and available of Liverpool's centre-backs. 

It means a new defender is high on the list of priorities for the Reds, with Klopp already on the look-out for a new left-back and a central midfielder, moves for top targets Ben Chilwell, Piotr Zielinski and Mahmoud Dahoud having stalled in recent weeks.

Gomez's long-awaited return delayed in latest setback

Gomez will not join up with his Liverpool teammates in training for a few weeks. (Picture: Liverpool Echo)
Gomez will not join up with his Liverpool teammates in training for a few weeks. (Picture: Liverpool Echo)

Despite having let slip 35-year-old Toure only last month, it's believed Liverpool are targeting an experienced defender to come in and help plug the gap.

Gomez, who signed for £3.5 million from Charlton Athletic in June last year and penned a five-year contract at Anfield, hit the ground running in pre-season and started the 2015-16 season as Brendan Rodgers' first-choice left-back. 

The England Under-19 international's excellent start to his career on Merseyside was however cut short when Gomez ruptured his cruciate ligament on international duty, just days after Jürgen Klopp had taken charge at the club.

That meant that the Catford-born defender, capable of playing across the backline, made just seven appearances in all competitions.

He was expected to build upon that tally this coming season, having worked in tandem with the club's medical and sports science team over the last few months to build up his fitness.

Gomez had hoped for a return in time to feature in pre-season, with Liverpool two games into a nine-game schedule that runs until August 7, but those hopes have been scuppered by his injury blow.

Viable targets will undoubtedly be touted by various news outlets in the coming weeks, with Klopp having had prior experience of such a dilemma in January when he had to sign Steven Caulker at a time when the club had no senior centre-backs fit.

Regardless, it will still come as a bitter disappointment with the German yet to work with the highly-rated Gomez - with the defender having praised Klopp for keeping him in high spirits throughout his comeback.