Joe Gomez hopes his five 'special' years at Liverpool so far come to represent only the introduction to his story with the club.
The defender sealed a move to the Reds from Charlton Athletic in June 2015 having just recently celebrated his 18th birthday.
After a hugely promising pre-season and beginning to the new campaign, Gomez sustained a serious ACL injury in Jürgen Klopp’s first week as manager.
But, slowly and steadily, he rehabilitated and became a crucial part of Klopp’s squad as they reached back-to-back Champions League finals, lifting the trophy at the second attempt a year ago.
This term, Gomez has gone to another level, playing more frequently than ever before – 34 appearances to date – and strengthening his central-defensive partnership with Virgil van Dijk.
And as the fifth anniversary of his arrival comes around, the No.12 is eager to ensure his spell so far becomes a portion of his overall achievements at Anfield.
“It’s had its ups and downs and some periods have gone quicker than others, but I am so grateful to be at this club and to be coming up to my fifth year is something I definitely appreciate,” Gomez told Liverpoolfc.com.
“Hopefully it is just the start of the journey; five years is a pretty decent length of time, but I hope it is just sort of the opening chapters of what can be many more years here.
“It has definitely been special times and I have definitely grown a lot here. I’ve done most of my growing up as an adult, coming here at 18. I’ve learned so much about the club and about the city. It’s been a pleasure.”
On how the last five years have lived up to his expectations back in 2015, he continued: “Everything and more. I’ve said it a few times but I don’t think I realised the stature of the club when I was signing.
“To be a part of some of the memories that have been created here already over the past five years and just being a part of the city and the club is special. It’s become home, my son was born here and I am getting to raise a family.
“To be a part of such a special club, for me the best in the world in the sense of the community, the fanbase – for that, I’ve got to give thanks.
“Coming back in [when training at Melwood resumed] really gave perspective of how much of a blessing it is to be a part of this club and to be involved in the set-up there is something to be thankful for.”
Gomez turned 23 last month but is one of the longest-serving squad members in the Liverpool dressing room.
Indeed, only Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren have been with the first team for longer than the England international, whose last outing was his 100th for the Reds.
“I didn’t realise that!” he responded to the fact.
“But I’ve definitely grown up here, I’ve definitely learned massive amounts from being at the club for that period of time. I definitely do feel like I’ve got a lot of learning to do and I still see myself as a young player within the team, but I suppose in that sense it does mean I have got a good gauge of what it means to play for the club and how much responsibility it is.
“As a collective, we’ve got so many experienced players here and guys who have played for massive clubs and won things at different places. I think it is that mix of youth and experience that we’ve got in the team that probably makes such a good blend at the minute.
“People like Trent, that really embody the city and what it means to be a Liverpool player, then the likes of Hendo, that is a leader who has been here for so many years.
“Having so many individuals within the team that embrace playing for the club and really enjoy what it means to be a Liverpool player is hopefully what is going to create the formula for winning many more trophies and having more success.”
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