6 Aug 2015

Macca raves: Forget Firmino/Milner etc. 'Exceptional' £6m star is Liverpool's best player in pre-season. Agree?

After a good pre-season, Reds defender Joe Gomez revealed this week that he's hoping for a starting berth against Stoke City this weekend, and ex-Red Jason McAteer feels that the £6m signing is 'mature' enough to handle the pressure and physicality of the Premier League.

Discussing Gomez on LFC TV this week, Macca channelled his inner-Rodgers by declaring the 18-year old to be 'exceptional', and urged LFC's manager to give him a 'chance' against Stoke. He enthused:

"He [Gomez] is the player that’s impressed me most in pre-season. He’s done fantastically well playing out of position on the left. He’s strong, and not frightened of making how own decisions, even with Skrtel and Lovren about".

Rodgers has already fanned the flames of unrealistic expectation with his grossly irresponsible fawning over Gomez. For example, after the 2-1 victory over Brisbane Roar, he fawned:

"He [Gomez]...looked an outstanding athlete and a really good footballer. I've seen him at centre-half and at right-back, but I wanted to see him at left-back - and I thought he was outstanding."

Liverpool's signings this summer appear to be a significant improvement on the overpriced dross brought in last summer, but with two days before the start of the season, the squad is still weak in several areas, including left-back.

If Gomez - who describes himself as a 'leader' - is to start, that's the position he'll probably take. A few points:

* With Alberto Moreno still in the squad, there's surely no need to play Gomez against Stoke?

* Selecting an untested teenager at left back will basically constitute a very public f@&k you to Moreno, and could push the Spaniard closer to the exit door. Perhaps that's what Rodgers want, though?

* Rodgers subbed Moreno at half-time during last season's 6-1 capitulation at Stoke, and like the rest of the team, Moreno is probably bursting to make amends for that pathetic performance.

There's always another possibility: Clyne could play at left-back, with Gomez playing on the right. Rodgers played Glen Johnson on the left many times, and given his propensity for square pegs in round holes, it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest to see the manager take this approach.

As for Gomez: I'm not as enamoured by him as most other fans. He looked decent in Liverpool's worryingly non-competitive pre-season, but with the greatest respect, the Reds were hardly tested.

Additionally, after the irresponsible overpraise from Rodgers, McAteer, fans, and the media, the expectation level is too high, and that may turn out to be counter-productive.

My team for Sunday:

--------------------- Bogdan

Clyne --------- Skrtel ---- Sakho ---- Moreno

---------------------- Lucas

----------------- Milner -- Hendo

-------------------- Coutinho


-------------------- Benteke

Author: Jaimie K


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