Joe Gomez plays 45 minutes in Liverpool's behind-closed-doors friendly win over Accrington

Joe Gomez plays 45 minutes in Liverpool's behind-closed-doors friendly win over Accrington

Joe Gomez played the second-half for Liverpool in a behind-closed-doors friendly against League Two side Accrington Stanley, which the Reds won 5-0 thanks to goals from Emre Can, Harry Wilson and Rhian Brewster.

Charlie Malam

Joe Gomez played his first 45 minutes of football in over 13 months as Liverpool thrashed Accrington Stanley 5-0 in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Sunday afternoon.

Jürgen Klopp once again made the most of the international break, organising a friendly as he has done in October (Bradford City) and September (Huddersfield Town), with Gomez coming on at half-time to feature.

In addition to the 19-year-old defender, the likes of Loris Karius, Alberto Moreno, Joel Matip, Lucas Leiva, James Milner and Emre Can were all involved against the League Two visitors at Melwood training ground.

Can was on the scoresheet, while Under-23s captain Harry Wilson and Under-18s striker Rhian Brewster - who has emerged as a hugely-promising talent within the club's Academy - firing a hat-trick.

But the 16-year-old - who scored five goals in two games for England U18s recently - was not the headline-maker despite his contributions, with Gomez kicking a ball in a match situation for the first time under Klopp.

He posted to Instagram later in the evening: "Nice to get some minutes today... felt great to put the shirt back on #lfc."

Young defender slowly but surely closing in on return

Gomez only moved to Merseyside from Charlton Athletic in a deal worth around £3.5 million last summer, but made such an impression in pre-season that he started the 2015-16 season as former boss Brendan Rodgers' first-choice left-back.

But just days after Klopp was appointed Liverpool manager last October, Gomez sustained an anterior cruciate ligament rupture in action for England U21s.

He was due to return for Liverpool's most recent pre-season campaign, but suffered an Achilles tendonitis issue that delayed his comeback and prevented him from returning to training until last month.

The versatile defender, who initially played at centre-back and right-back before his left-back role for Liverpool last term, is steadily working his way back to full fitness as he aims for a return after Christmas.

His comeback will be a much welcome one within the squad, who applauded Gomez on his first training session back with them, and for Klopp - who has long lauded the highly-rated teenager.

He adds depth across the back-line, particularly on the right - where 18-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold made his debut against Tottenham Hotspur in the EFL Cup at the end of last month.

Gomez will hope to be back to full sharpness by the start of Liverpool's FA Cup campaign in early 2017, with their form in the Premier League making it unlikely he will displace any of Klopp's first-choice defenders any time soon.