Danny Mills has claimed Liverpool could have pulled away from Manchester City in the title race if Joe Gomez had been fit to play all season.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-England international explained why he is a big admirer of the 21-year-old defender and was struck by his outstanding start to the campaign.
Gomez was Premier League player of the year Virgil van Dijk’s regular centre-back partner until suffering a lower leg fracture against Burnley in December that later required surgery.
The England international recently returned to the team and started Wednesday’s Champions League defeat to Barcelona, which left Liverpool’s main trophy hopes resting on winning their remarkable title tussle with Manchester City.
“I think defensively they’ve made massive improvements. Van Dijk has been a huge part of that, not just in the way that he plays – his influence, his leadership – so that’s been very important, I think that’s why he’s got player of the season,” Mills told Football Insider.
“Trent Alexander(-Arnold) has done very, very well, has been injured as well, been in and out.
“(Joe) Gomez has been a big miss. Imagine if he’d have been in the whole season alongside van Dijk. Liverpool might be closer, further ahead of Man City at the moment.”
Liverpool are back in Premier League action on Saturday, when they travel to Newcastle United, 48 hours before Man City host Leicester City at Etihad Stadium.
City are one point ahead with two matches of the season remaining, and will secure back-to-back titles if they beat Leicester and Brighton on the final day.