Exclusive: Darren Bent tips Liverpool powerhouse to keep mainstay benched after official update

Darren Bent has suggested that Liverpool mainstay Joel Matip will lose his place in the starting XI to Joe Gomez after being ruled out of Wednesday’s clash with Red Bull Salzburg.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Spurs and England striker says that he had expected Gomez to have returned to the starting XI already after his injury layoff but that Matip has done well to keep him out of the side.

Liverpool confirmed that Matip would be sitting out Wednesday’s clash at Anfield due to an injury problem picked up against Sheffield United, leaving Gomez likely to take his place.

Bent says that while Matip has done well to keep his place alongside Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the defence this season, he cannot see it continuing if Gomez performs well against the Austrian side on Wednesday night.

Bent told Football Insider: “I thought by now Gomez would have nailed that spot down and would be his to lose, but Matip’s not giving up that shirt without a fight. 

“(Will Matip return if Gomez plays well) I can’t see it. I like Joel Matip, I think he’s done really well but Joe Gomez is an absolute powerhouse. Before he got injured, him and van Dijk looked solid as a rock, there was no give whatsoever.

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“With Matip out and Gomez playing (v Salzburg), this could be the start of him nailing down that spot because he’s obviously that good.”

Matip, 28, has started all but one of Liverpool’s Premier League games this season, sitting out the opening day win against Norwich City, while he also started the 2-0 defeat to Napoli in their first Champions League group match.

Gomez was chosen to start against the Canaries, but has been an unused substitute for all but one of the club’s league games since.

In other Liverpool news, Danny Mills has been raving to Football Insider about an unsung hero at Anfield.