Alan Hutton has suggested that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will look to axe fan favourite Joe Gomez from the starting XI when Joel Matip returns to full fitness at Anfield.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Aston Villa and Scotland international says that he believes Klopp’s first-choice pairing at the heart of the defence is Virgil van Dijk and Matip, the duo having played the majority of games together this season.
Gomez returned to the starting XI against Red Bull Salzburg on Wednesday night for what was his first start since the League Cup win over MK Dons, with Matip missing out through a minor injury problem.
Having seen Gomez concede three goals along van Dijk on the way to a 4-3 victory against the Austrians, Hutton says he thinks Matip will be straight back into the starting XI at the expense of his English counterpart.
Hutton told Football Insider: “Talking of van Dijk, I think he does play best alongside Matip, I think they complement each other well so bringing a new partnership in, I think it’s always best to keep with the same back four or three.
“I can’t see this happening all that often, I think it’s a kind of one-off. (Will Matip be back in if fit?) I would have said so. I think at the start of the season most people would have said it would be Gomez and van Dijk partnership.
“Matip’s come in and I think they work so well together. It’s been proven over the beginning week of the season. It looks good, those two working together, and I presume if fit that’ll be his number one partnership.”
Gomez started for Liverpool on the opening day of the Premier League season, playing the full 90 minutes against Norwich City, but has featured for just one more minute in the top flight since.
Liverpool’s last game before the international break sees them take on Leicester City, who come off the back of thrashing Newcastle United 5-0.