Joe Gomez took a further step in his rehabilitation on Sunday by playing 45 minutes of a behind-closed-doors friendly at Melwood.

The Liverpool defender, who has been out of action since October 2015 after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury, returned to training with the team last month.

And the latest phase of Gomez’s recovery saw the 19-year-old come on at half-time in a friendly encounter with League Two side Accrington Stanley.

Jürgen Klopp recently explained plans for such an appearance for the England youth international, as the club adopt a patient approach with his comeback.

“It is a long way,” said the manager. “He was injured for a long time and now it is a long way back, so there is no rush in it. We can give him time to come back in the right moment.”

Klopp’s side claimed a 5-0 victory over Accrington, with Academy forward Rhian Brewster notching a hat-trick and Emre Can and Harry Wilson also on target.

A number of other senior players featured in a strong line-up for the game, including Loris Karius, Lucas Leiva, Joel Matip, James Milner and Alberto Moreno.

The Reds – current Premier League leaders – return to competitive action next Saturday afternoon, when they take on Southampton at St Mary’s.