Liverpool are ready to take the crown and the throne away from Manchester City this season. Currently on top of the table, The Reds have been pretty consistent this season.
With a 0-2 away win at Burnley, Jurgen Klopp’s squad earned precious 3 points for the title race and while doing so got their 6th clean sheet of the season
All this is despite the long injury list and missing players. The replacements so to say haven’t been half bad, especially at the back. Endo was praised by the coach last game after taking over from injured Mac Allister and now its Joe Gomez’s turn.
Footie fans have woken up to the realisation that the Liverpool defence is not just Virgil Van Dijk and there is another character who is making things happen.
This realization and some incredible photoshopping skills gave us this masterpiece:
This handsome Joe Maldini has been created to acknowledge the level at which the English defender is operating this season. Maybe not quite the same complexion but the height and weight are similar at the very least.
What matters the most though are the defensive capabilities. Paolo Maldini or Il Capitano is considered one of the best, if not ‘the best’ defenders of all time and to be compared to the legend is no small deed. So what earned Joe Gomez this high praise ?
Just like the Italian maestro, Gomez is pretty flexible at the back. He has played as right back, central defender and Left back for the team at the highest levels.
Gomez has been exceptional this season. He has played 16 Premier League games, all 6 Europa league games and 2 EFL cup games for the Reds. He has managed to keep 8 clean sheets as of now. He has been rated very high in every game.
Almost every performance of his has been top notch. Even Liverpool hero Steve McManaman has heaped praises for the youngster. In his words, “He is a great defender and always does an incredible job for Liverpool.”
Unfortunately, injuries have hit his life hard, so much so that his regular appearance in the the Liverpool squad are now considered a ‘turnaround’ for him.
As irony would have it, he got his chance in the starting XI again due to injuries to both Andy Robertson and his replacement Tsimikas. Slotting in as a left back hasn’t stopped the defender either and he has not let the manager down.
In the Arsenal game he restricted the opponents to just 0.18 expected goal haul (xG) after he came on. Even more exceptional was his Turf Moor performance.
He finished the game with a 100% successful tackle rate, six ball recoveries, 50% ground duels won and 67% aerial duels won. Those are some impressive numbers. He even fulfilled his attacking duties and completed 3/4 dribbles.
From the beginning of Joe’s career he was being called the English Maldini, this isn’t the first time the defender has been compared to legends. Might have been some exaggerations but these comparisons began as early as his debut for Liverpool.
Gomez even met Maldini somewhat recently during the pre-season game vs AC Milan in 2022. They were seen indulged in a deep conversation after the game.
He does have a long way to go though. Paolo Maldini was a legend due to his longevity and consistency. We will see how long can Joe Gomez keep up the amazing work.