Liverpool to open contract talks with four players and face up to Joe Gomez reality

Liverpool’s hopes of securing versatile defender Joe Gomez to a new contract will hinge on sporting director Julian Ward convincing the England defender that he remains key to Jurgen Klopp’s plans.

Gomez, 25, can play right-back and centre-back and still has two years left on his current deal, and is one of a number of players Ward will speak to about their futures in the coming months.

Ward knows that Gomez has become frustrated about falling behind Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate in the battle to partner Virgil van Dijk at the heart of Klopp’s defence. Liverpool view Gomez as vital to Klopp’s vision of the future.

Both Van Dijk and Matip will celebrate their 31st birthdays this summer. And while neither player has shown signs that they are slowing down, Klopp would prefer to groom an eventual successor over the coming years than go into the transfer market. But Liverpool are also aware that Gomez is desperate to make up for last time after missing most of the 2020-21 season with a serious knee injury. His return to last season did not go as expected.

The Londoner suffered a number of niggling injuries and made just 21 appearances for the Reds in all competitions. He was often asked to play as a right-back because of the brilliant form of Van Dijk, Matip and Konate. Gomez still harbours ambitions of being named in the England squad for the World Cup next winter. But that hope will hinge on him forcing his way into Klopp’s Liverpool team on a regular basis in the first three months of the new campaign.

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Julian Ward, right, will be instrumental in contract negotiations with a number of Liverpool players who the club want to tie down to longer deals


Julian Ward, right, will be instrumental in contract negotiations with a number of Liverpool players who the club want to tie down to longer deals
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Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Ward has spent the last few weeks brokering the arrival of £85million Darwin Nunez from Benfica and teenagers Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsey from Fulham and Southampton respectively. Sadio Mane has departed to Bayern Munich in a deal that will eventually recoup £35million while Takumi Minamino’s expected departure to Monaco will bring in another £17million.

Liverpool are not planning to make any more signings – but Ward will now concentrate on securing the futures of Gomez, Diogo Jota, Naby Keita and Harvey Elliott. The talks with Gomez are potentially the most problematic. The elegant 6ft 2ins defender has a versatility that is vital to Klopp – and he would be a certainty to go to Qatar if he was a regular at Anfield.

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