Jurgen Klopp was delighted to welcome Joe Gomez back to the first-team fold after the defender returned from a long-term injury absence earlier in the week. The England U21 international has been sidelined for an entire year with cruciate ligament and Achilles injuries, but returned to a big applause from his Liverpool teammates at the club's Melwood training base.
Gomez was penciled into return to the first-team in July this year following his recovery from the cruciate ligament injury, sustained while on international duty in October last year, but was diagnosed with tendinopathy in his Achilles, which delayed his return for a further three months. The former Charlton Athletic defender suffered his first injury at the same time as Klopp's arrival in Merseyside, and thus is yet to play under the German coach.
It is unlikely that the 19-year-old will be rushed back to action, after Klopp revealed that he has a long way to go before he is match fit. He will provide the manager another option at left-back, a slot that has been occupied by James Milner, who is primarily a midfielder. Alberto Moreno's playing time is likely to further diminish with Gomez's return to the first-team, but for the moment he will remain second-choice to the former England international.
"With a big applause, he came back. It was really nice to have the boy back in training," Klopp wsas quoted as saying on the club's official site during his pre-match briefing ahead of Liverpool's crunch clash against Manchester United on Monday (17 October).
"It is only parts of training. He needs time, he has to do a lot until he's match fit, but it's really good to have him back.
"Actually, it is the first time I've had him. He got his injury in the international break when I came here last year. Now it is his first time on the pitch with the team. It was really a very nice moment," the German coach added.