Jurgen Klopp will have been delighted to see Liverpool defender Joe Gomez make a successful return to first-team training on Tuesday as he continues his recovery from a long-term knee problem. The 24-year-old missed the vast majority of last season after suffering a patellar tendon injury while on international duty with England.
He played just 12 matches in all competitions before he was forced onto the treatment table in November.
Gomez’s absence was sorely missed by Liverpool, who also suffered from the losses of Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip with additional long-term injuries.
However, Tuesday morning’s session at the club’s pre-season camp in Austria marked a huge step in the right direction for the former Charlton Athletic man.
He took part in full training with the rest of his Liverpool team-mates and emerged from the pitch unscathed, according to The Athletic.
Meanwhile, van Dijk, Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold were spotted participating in various drills as they continue to push for first-team returns.
Gomez spoke to Liverpool’s club website later on Tuesday afternoon, admitting that he has enjoyed having van Dijk for company during their respective spells out of action.
“It was massive,” said the England defender, reflecting on his time away from the pitch.
“There were so many moments, right at the beginning, when we were at home on the sofa and couldn’t move, and we were FaceTiming and speaking about things.
“It’s someone to relate to, to vent to at times when you’re frustrated, so it was massive. I think we’re both thankful to have had each other.
“It was cruel circumstances, but it definitely made things easier.”
Gomez also underlined his delight in finally returning to action at Liverpool’s pre-season training camp, but revealed that it has been anything but plain sailing over the last seven months during his recovery.
“It’s everything,” he said when quizzed on how the prospect of reaching full fitness helped to raise his spirit in the face of adversity.
“There are times at the beginning when it feels daunting and you think: ‘How am I going to get back to that level?’
“But we have such good staff around us here, and everyone works together to do everything to prepare us for this moment.
“You get to a certain point and then it’s just a buzz to get back to doing what you do. It’s been a long journey and a tough one, but that was the reward I think we needed.
“And there’ll be many more, our first game and stuff like that. They’re all monumental moments.”