By Will Butcher

Dejan Lovren has revealed that Joe Gomez’s return to full fitness has been down to the Liverpool star’s unwavering mentality.

The 19-year-old has been out injured for more than a year now, after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament last October while on international duty with England Under-21’s.

A return to the first team was expected in pre-season, but another problem prevented him from rejoining the Liverpool side – this time in his achilles.

Now, Gomez has returned to first-team training and teammate Lovren has lauded his defensive partner, describing him as “unbelievable”.

“He showed so much strength – his mentality was blowing me away,” Lovren told Liverpool’s official website. “He was always positive about everything. He was definitely disappointed but he never stopped believing.

“He had an amazing start. This guy is so strong, he’s just 19. He is unbelievable. He can be a top player.”

Gomez returned to first-team training earlier this month as he looks to regain his place in Liverpool’s starting 11 under Jurgen Klopp.

The former Charlton star was signed by former manager Brendan Rodgers and immediately broke into the Merseyside giants’s side, making seven appearances in all competitions before the devastating injury last season.

With James Milner playing out of position at left back and Mamadou Sakho continuing to be frozen out by Klopp, versatile defender Gomez could find some joy as he targets a first-team return.

Liverpool next face Crystal Palace in Saturday’s tea-time kick off, with a place at the top of the Premier League up for grabs if Manchester City and Arsenal drop points.

In other Liverpool team news, this star player is a major doubt for Saturday’s encounter against Alan Pardew’s men.