It might have seemed that Joe Gomez’s professional world had folded just five days after Jürgen Klopp’s appointment at Liverpool.

There Gomez was: getting games at left back under the previous manager Brendan Rodgers, aged just 18 and looking the part, careering up the pitch representing England’s U21s against Kazakhstan…

Suddenly, a twinge in his knee…worried looks, a substitution, crutches and a scan. X-rays confirmed the diagnosis dreaded by all footballers: the twinge was, in fact, his anterior cruciate ligament tearing. This happened nearly 15 months ago. Gomez hasn’t played in a competitive second of football since.

On Sunday it is almost certain he will return to Liverpool’s first team for their FA Cup third-round tie at Anfield with Plymouth Argyle, with Klopp conceding on Friday morning 'it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if he’s in the line-up'.

At Melwood a day earlier, Gomez acknowledged the road to recovery has not been without potholes. And yet, you trust him when he insists the experience has made him a stronger person and therefore, it might make him a better player than he was before.

“It was tough at times and there were phases when I felt like everything was against me,” he admitted. “Now looking back at it, it was a big year for me to learn: to gain faith in myself. I am thankful that I came through to it and that it's behind me.

“It certainly has made me mentally stronger. I look upon things differently. I am a different person. When you have experienced something like that, you don't take things for granted any more. It gives you a different perspective. I see it as a blessing that I was able to learn from it in the way I did.”

Read more from this interview in The Independent.

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