Liverpool began their season in fine fashion, thanks to a 4-0 win over West Ham United. The Reds were fantastic throughout the game and barring the odd chance for the Hammers, we barely looked like we were in trouble against Manuel Pellegrini’s men.
Gomez, nevertheless, did a decent enough job but Jurgen Klopp later added that Dejan Lovren should be fit soon (h/t Liverpool FC), which begs the question, just who should we stick with at the heart of the defence?
The greatest defender in the world or one with potential?
Lovren and van Dijk were our preferred pairing for the latter half of the previous season, following the Dutch defender’s arrival in the January window. Last season also saw us conceding the fewest goals in the league since Klopp took over, so there is some merit in sticking with Lovren and van Dijk.
However, rushing Lovren back isn’t the smartest move. The Croatian had a long World Cup with the national side, meaning it will take time for him to regain his form and touch.
Klopp did suggest that Lovren would be back soon but again, putting him into the team straight away would not make a lot of sense since he must get up to speed with the Premier League.
Looking at our other options, Klavan cannot play two games a week, which is something we will have to worry about once we start playing in the Champions League.
Matip could be an option for us but his injury record over the past season isn’t great and keeping him for the cup games is probably the best we can do.
All signs indicate that perhaps we should continue with Gomez as van Dijk’s partner. The youngster did not play the last month or so the previous term as he went under the knife. However, this time, partnering him with van Dijk could be the solution to maintaining a strong defence.
Of course, the key to all this is keeping van Dijk fit. The Dutch defender has been exceptional since his big-money move from Southampton.
The former Celtic defender has marshalled our defence really well and with someone of Alisson’s calibre between the sticks, we should have a better defensive record than last season.
Gomez is one for the future and he could rise at the same rate as Trent Alexander-Arnold.
That said, there is no doubt about Lovren’s abilities. But for the time being, we must avoid playing him right away and continue with van Dijk and Gomez doing the business at the back.