Liverpool to use behind-closed-doors and U23s games to help Joe Gomez return to full fitness

Liverpool to use behind-closed-doors and U23s games to help Joe Gomez return to full fitness

Liverpool will look to involve Joe Gomez in behind-closed-doors friendlies over the international break, as well as potentially putting him into the Under-23s side for a number of matches, as they look to aid his rehabilitation from over a year out injured.

Charlie Malam

Joe Gomez could spend a spell with Liverpool's Under-23s side as the club look to aid his recovery from over a year out with knee and Achilles injuries, Jürgen Klopp has said.

Behind-closed-doors friendlies, which have been used already this season to help the club's non-internationals get some vital minutes under their belts, are also a possibility.

The defender made his long-awaited return to full training a fortnight ago, having yet to feature under Jürgen Klopp following a 12-month lay-off.

The highly-rated 19-year-old sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury last October while in action for England Under-21s, just days after Klopp was announced as Liverpool boss.

Gomez's comeback was further delayed in the summer, when he was diagnosed with tendinopathy in his Achilles which prevented him from returning to pre-season training in July.

But he is now working his way back up to full fitness, with Klopp insisting that they won't look to rush the teenager back after he was sidelined for so long.

Gomez looking 'really good' at the moment, says Klopp

Asked for an update on Gomez's fitness at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's clash with Crystal Palace, Klopp declared: "He is good. We always talk about all the players, but with the medical department and fitness coaches, we're talking about Joe."

The German insisted that the versatile defender, who impressed at left-back in his first few months as a Liverpool player following a move from Charlton Athletic, looks "really good at the moment" but warned that he is still "a long way" off.

Klopp insisted that Gomez "was injured for a long time" and is "a long way back", so there is "no rush" to get him back into the team as he added: "Thank God we don't have to put pressure on him, like we need him tomorrow or something."

He said that because the Englishman is "still a young boy" then "can give him time to come back in the right moment" as he suggested that they will specifically organise some friendlies to help his comeback.

Behind-closed-doors friendlies and Under-23s game time a possibility as Gomez looks to get up to speed

"In the next few weeks, maybe in the international break when he can get a game or something, he will play a few minutes," the Reds boss said, with his side having faced Huddersfield Town and Bradford City in behind-closed-doors matches in the last two breaks.

Klopp said that he and his backroom staff will consider "what makes sense" after that, perhaps playing Gomez in the "U23s or whatever" as he said that he "looks good" and "feels good."

He revealed that Gomez is "tired a lot" particularly "after the [training] sessions" but called that "normal" after such a serious injury, insisting again that his rehabilitation is "all in a good way."

Recent reports have even linked Gomez with a January loan spell away from the Reds, with Huddersfield - managed by Klopp's close friend David Wagner - thought to be one club interested.