Joe Gomez believes there were positives for Liverpool to build from after their Merseyside derby draw with Everton as they prepare to do battle with Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

With eight games to play, Liverpool are 20 points clear of Manchester City as they close in on a first title in the Premier League era.

Liverpool drew 0-0 away to rivals Everton in their first match back after the coronavirus lockdown on Sunday and welcome Palace to Anfield next. 

England international Gomez had to step in at left-back when he came on for the injured James Milner, who was already deputising for regular starter Andy Robertson.

"Unfortunately we didn't get the three points but it was a step closer at the end of the day," Gomez told the club's website.

"I think the familiarisation [of Anfield and having played the first game without fans] will help us in the next performance. Obviously it will be a tough game, but hopefully we can build on it."

Gomez made a key contribution when he deflected a Tom Davies shot onto the post as Everton launched a late flurry of attacks, but he felt Liverpool were the better side as they get ready to face Palace.

"It was a heart-in-mouth moment, moments like that I think it is just instinct, it could go either way - a couple of centimetres and it would have been a different result," he said.

"Obviously they had their fair few good chances but we like to think we came away dominating the game. There are definitely positives we can take from it, it is just about building on that now."

Of his positional change, Gomez added: "It was strange really. It wasn't expected and obviously I'm no Robbo.

"But it is part and parcel of the game sometimes, you have to do your best to help the team and get your result. 

"Everyone knows Robbo is our main man but I have learned to adapt in a way and full-back is a position I have played, albeit mainly on the right."

Jurgen Klopp confirmed in his pre-match media conference that Robertson was back in training and therefore in contention to face Palace.

The lockdown may have prevented Liverpool's players from training as usual, but Joe Gomez thinks the experience has actually brought Jurgen Klopp's squad even closer together.

Liverpool players returned to their Melwood training base for the first time in two months last week to take part in small group sessions at staggered times. 

Prior to that, the Premier League leaders had to keep fit at home due to the lockdown measures implemented by the United Kingdom government, which were designed to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Videos on social media showed the Reds would often conduct group sessions via video links and Gomez feels it has been a bonding experience for the group.

"Yeah, I think so, because we've had to have communication in a different way; it's not been the standard come in and see each other by force every day," he explained to Liverpool's website.

"We've had to reach out as individuals and really stay connected by choice. That's when you grow fonder of each other and closer because it's been a tough time that we've come through together.

"It has been beneficial in that sense, that as a team we've been so connected and kept communication through the whole thing.

"I think having that time apart, to then come together again last week made it feel that much more special."

Klopp's side have not played a game since losing 3-2 to Atletico Madrid after extra time at Anfield on March 11 to exit the Champions League at the last-16 stage.

Despite that, Gomez has been impressed with how his team-mates have been able to maintain their sharpness in lockdown.

"As a team, just seeing the lads already, everyone has kept that foundation of fitness," he claimed.

"We obviously had a rigorous programme that the fitness guys set out for us and everyone stuck to.

"So it doesn't feel like we're starting from scratch, but I suppose because of the break we are. But everyone is raring to go and just enjoying the process."

Though the Premier League has been suspended since March, the competition is still hoping to resume next month.

Virgil van Dijk is "a dominant force" and Liverpool team-mate Joe Gomez relishes being able to play alongside him.

Gomez and Van Dijk have formed a solid partnership at the heart of the Premier League's best defence, with the former having overcome significant injury problems to establish himself in Jurgen Klopp's starting XI.

Van Dijk arrived at Anfield in January 2018 as the world's most expensive defender, a record that has since been surpassed by Harry Maguire's switch to Manchester United, and quickly struck up a close relationship with the England international.

"I've said it before, but the stature of Virgil before he came to the club was massive," Gomez told Sky Sports.

"I was a young centre-back, hadn't really gotten as many games [at Liverpool] as I would have liked but as soon as he came in, he reached out with open arms and we formed a bond straight away.

"The fact that he is a down-to-earth person off the pitch, we get on really well and we have a great relationship.

"We talk and in times like this, we FaceTime and speak about general things so that helps on the pitch when you have an understanding. He's your mate at the end of the day.

"Sometimes he gives me an earful, but it's a massive help and a confidence booster just having someone like him beside you. When there's a one-on-one battle, you know he's going to dominate, he doesn't really lose headers at all.

"Just having him alongside you and his presence, it's not just me, it's the whole team and the stadium. When Virgil goes down, I think there is a bit of a gasp and a worry but he's a real dominant force and a pleasure to play alongside."

Gomez joined Liverpool from Charlton Athletic as an 18-year-old in 2015 and admits it took time for him to understand the size of the club and the expectations that would be upon him.

"Football was all I knew and looking back, it was daunting," said Gomez. "It's a massive club and to be honest, I don't think I realised the stature of the club and what I was getting in to in terms of the expectation.

"But I think you have to take it head on and you have to accept that when you don't perform, you have to take it on the chin and there's going to be backlash – not in the negative sense, but just through expectation. Around the club, it has such a strong history and you have to uphold that.

"I think as soon as I went into pre-season, I realised the size of the club. I was used to staying in the UK and going for a training camp somewhere, but in my first Liverpool pre-season, we went to Thailand. We turned up to the hotel and it was ridiculous, security everywhere and hundreds of people. Straight away from there, I realised.

"We then flew to Australia and played against Brisbane Roar and the stadium was packed. That was the first time I heard 'You'll Never Walk Alone' and I thought, 'Yeah, this is a different scale.'"

Virgil van Dijk insisted Liverpool did not feel unbeatable despite their incredible run in the Premier League.

Liverpool secured their 22nd win in 23 league games this season by edging Wolves 2-1 in a tight contest on Thursday.

But Van Dijk warned his side there was still work to do despite their 16-point advantage atop the table.

"You never feel unbeatable – it is not a feeling that we have," the star centre-back told UK media.

"Anything can happen. There were moments against Wolves when things could have been different.

"They could have scored a second. We always feel we have to keep working hard.

"We just try to keep improving. Things are going good at the moment and everyone is in a good situation."

Van Dijk is enjoying another stellar campaign for Liverpool, with his partnership alongside Joe Gomez in the centre of defence a key.

Gomez was involved in an altercation with England team-mate Raheem Sterling in November and Van Dijk said he spoke to the 22-year-old to offer his support.

"Of course I talked with Joe and tried to help," Van Dijk said.

"That incident wasn't his fault. I spoke to him about it at the time and he came through that.

"I've been so impressed by Joe. We all saw last season, before he got injured, how good he is and how good he can be.

"He's someone I get on very well with — on and off the pitch. That helps, of course."

Liverpool visit Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday.

Joe Gomez insists Liverpool's "hungry" players are desperate to play in Sunday's FA Cup third-round tie with Everton, despite their congested fixture list.

Jurgen Klopp's side head into the second Merseyside derby of the season at Anfield on the back of 11 matches in 33 days, 10 of those ending in victory.

The gruelling run has taken its toll, with Naby Keita joining Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip, Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri on the sidelines.

Klopp may be forced to use either Virgil van Dijk or Gomez at centre-back against Everton, but the latter is more than happy to put his body on the line.

"For me, I love every derby and it is a special game, every time," he told reporters. "Regardless of whether it is a Premier League game or not, we go into it looking to win and I think that is self-explanatory. 

"That is something that we look forward to and whatever will be will be. Everyone wants to play.

"I think if you asked everyone in the dressing room they all have that desire to play every game and I think that is what is important for us in this team. There is a real hunger and you feel it.

"There is no: 'oh I want to play this game and chill that one'. I think that shows and that is why when everyone comes in, the lads are playing well. They are really participating and helping the team.

"There is no telling what the gaffer will do, but we are used to the quick turnaround now and with four days it was one more [day off] so it was nice to get that extra day of recovery.

"At the same time, we want to win things, and it is the Merseyside derby and we never want to lose that so we just take it one game at a time and just keep it going."

Gomez recently returned to the side and has helped Liverpool to five successive clean sheets in the Premier League alongside central-defensive partner Van Dijk.

"I am just taking it a game at a time," he said. "It is obviously nice to get momentum when you play games but I think the main thing is just to keep focus and take it one game at a time.

"We are in a good place and it is a joy to be a part of this team. I think everyone will just keep pushing and plugging away and we just have to keep pushing as a team and as individuals.

"I think in the dressing room as well, there are so many that are leaders and are keeping everyone on the straight and narrow. That is the focus - one game at a time.

"Obviously, I am enjoying playing and getting some momentum. I get on well with Virg and we enjoy playing together.

"I think as a unit, as a team, it is nice to be a part of it and get a run of games, so I am not dwelling on that, I just keep plugging away."

Gareth Southgate would be "disappointed" if he was not linked to Premier League vacancies but the England boss still has objectives he wants to achieve with the Three Lions.

England reached a first World Cup semi-final since Italia '90 at last year's tournament in Russia, while they also made the last four of the inaugural Nations League.

Southgate then oversaw England's qualification for Euro 2020 and his side are among the favourites for European Championship glory.

In a question and answer session with Sky Sports, Southgate – who was in the past linked with the Manchester United job - was asked if a return to Premier League management is of interest.

For now, though, Southgate's immediate focus remains on the Three Lions.

"I am completely fulfilled in the role, it's a privilege to be the manager of England. Sometimes in life we are always looking at what's coming next and not relishing how fortunate we are to be in the position that we are in," he said.

"I feel like our team can still get better, there are objectives that we still want to achieve. In the future? I know realistically that I'm not going to be England manager in 10 years' time - I hope to be in six months' time. 

"Somewhere in between that, there is going to be something else. I'd be disappointed if I wasn't linked with some of those jobs if I'm honest. 

"I don't worry about it because my phone has not been ringing. I think that is because people know that I am committed to the job that I am in."

Being national team manager throws up plenty of challenges and Southgate had to deal with an internal bust-up between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez during the last international break, with the duo having clashed in Manchester City's defeat to Liverpool prior to the squad meeting up.

Southgate opted to drop Sterling for the clash against Montenegro before restoring the City forward for their final Euro 2020 qualifier with Kosovo.

The decision to publicly confirm Sterling was dropped drew criticism in some quarters but Southgate feels the squad is more united for having dealt with the incident as a group.

"I think there are situations as a leader, where whatever decision you make will be criticised. There are some situations where there isn't a perfect solution and you all have to just work things out as a group," he added.

"Time needs to pass. I have to make a decision that is right for the team first and foremost, and also support both of the players. There are so many people involved in a situation like that - everybody is going to have an opinion. Those that have managed or coached before understand the complexities of any situation like that.

"The most important thing is the team and the performance of the team. We were able to focus internally on the football very quickly and we got the results we needed and both boys got back on the pitch.

"They definitely came closer together and Raheem's message when Joe got an adverse reaction at Wembley was a really powerful one. I think that bought some closure on the episode.

"We are dealing with young men who are going to be emotional at times. Part of the strength of some of our players is that edge that they have. Through that adversity we are stronger for it."

Jurgen Klopp said Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez can play "sensationally well" together amid Liverpool's injuries in defence.

With Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren injured, Van Dijk and Gomez started in the centre of defence in the European champions' 2-0 Premier League win over Watford on Saturday.

Gomez, 22, had been a regular alongside Van Dijk before he suffered a fractured leg in December last year.

Klopp said he had spoken regularly with Gomez and believes the England international's partnership with Van Dijk can flourish.

"We spoke, we spoke a lot," the Liverpool manager told UK newspapers.

"In a very good team, which we obviously are, the train doesn't wait. That means other players showed up, and I don't think anybody thought really we should put Joel on the bench. It is just that the boys are incredibly talented.

"The boy is still young, that is not the reason – it's just that you keep rhythm and you keep players together. But these two, Joe and Virg, they like each other a lot, and they can play sensationally well together."

Gomez and Van Dijk helped their side hold out Watford as Liverpool moved 10 points clear atop the Premier League.

Klopp praised his centre-backs for dealing with tricky conditions and the dangerous Troy Deeney.

"It was an especially difficult game – Deeney – and as you can imagine they play the ball in one direction. The balls that came into Virgil were only because of the wind, all the others came to Joe, and Deeney goes up," he said.

"But from this outstanding skilled boy who has this kind of improvement in these moments, he showed resilience. They all showed again the resilience.

"We really showed again we are ready to fight in each game."

Liverpool visit Aston Villa in an EFL Cup quarter-final on Tuesday, while they take on Monterrey at the Club World Cup a day later.

Jurgen Klopp has no problem with how England manager Gareth Southgate chose to handle the incident between Joe Gomez and Raheem Sterling.

Gomez and ex-Liverpool star Sterling were involved in a scuffle at St George's Park on November 11, the day after the pair clashed in the Reds' 3-1 win over Manchester City.

Southgate dropped Sterling for England's 7-0 win over Montenegro, a match in which Joe Gomez came on and was booed by certain sections of the crowd.

Sterling returned in the 4-0 victory over Kosovo as England wrapped up their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, though Gomez - who has insisted the matter has been fully put to bed - missed out with a knee injury.

Klopp expects Gomez to be able to play against Crystal Palace on Saturday if required, and the Liverpool boss is satisfied with how Southgate dealt with the situation.

"Gomez is better than good, everything is fine," Klopp told a news conference on Friday.

"If people are not sensible with it, it gets made bigger than it is and we speak about it for five weeks. The people involved are fine.

"Things like this happen in a football environment. It's a big challenge to ask the boys to give everything against each other and then the next day ask them to play together.

"There is nothing more to say about it. Gareth and the English FA dealt with it like I think it was right, I cannot judge because I was not in the situation. Joe is absolutely okay, nothing else to say about it really."

Liverpool's triumph over City at Anfield sent the Reds nine points clear of the defending champions with 12 games played.

Gareth Southgate claimed England have emerged stronger after working through the bust-up between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez and ending their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with emphatic victories.

After being left out of the squad for England's 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro following his behind-the-scenes clash with Gomez, Sterling was restored to Southgate's side for their campaign-closing 4-0 victory over Kosovo and was involved in goals scored by Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford.

Southgate praised the way his players pulled together and indicated he is happy with the progress they are making with the European Championship seven months away.

"You have to work through any difficulties you might have," Southgate told ITV. "The whole group have done that really well and I think we've come out of this stronger than we started it, quite frankly.

"We're further ahead in being more settled in the group and the way we want to play and players understanding our principles of play.

"There is really good competition and we wanted to learn a few things tonight, that we certainly did."

Harry Winks opened the scoring at Stadiumi Fadil Vokrri with his first international goal - a feat that was matched by second-half substitute Mason Mount, who scored in stoppage time.

Winks admitted England's defensive lapses allowed Kosovo to compete, while underlining his commitment to the team regardless of whether Southgate plays him in a deep-lying role or as an attacking midfielder.

"I like to be able to play both positions," Winks said on ITV. "I consider myself someone who can be in that pivot [position] and be in that eight if needed as well.

"There's always moments we need to improve on. It was the same in the Montenegro game, we gave away a few sloppy chances and we need to work on that because, come the Euros, we'll come up against stronger opposition than them and they might punish us."

Kane, whose strike took his tally to 12 goals in qualifying, echoed his Tottenham team-mate's comments, while reflecting upon England's strong finish to the game.

"We went through a few spells where they had a bit of pressure," he told ITV. "But we soaked it up and towards the end, when the spaces started to open up, it was clinical and 4-0 is a great result.

"We know we can improve. Tonight was difficult: the pitch was poor and it was hard to play, and there's always going to be little mistakes.

"When we play better teams we've got to make sure we're on it."

 

Raheem Sterling has been restored to England's starting XI against Kosovo after being dropped following a bust-up with Joe Gomez, while Nick Pope will make his first start between the posts.

Sterling was left out of the squad for the 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro on Thursday as punishment for an incident that occurred in a private area of England's training base.

The two players had clashed in last Sunday's Premier League meeting between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield, and Sterling is reported to have reacted poorly when greeted by Gomez the following day as the England squad met up.

Gomez came on as second-half substitute in the win over Montenegro but was jeered by some at Wembley Stadium as he entered the pitch, leading to Gareth Southgate and Sterling condemning the fans for the frosty reception.

The Liverpool defender has since returned to his club due to injury.

Sterling's restoration is one of five alterations to the team from Thursday, with the City star coming in for Marcus Rashford, while Jadon Sancho moves to the bench in favour of Callum Hudson-Odoi.

In midfield, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Harry Winks retain their places, with Declan Rice coming in, while Tyrone Mings and Pope also enter the starting XI.

England have already secured a place at Euro 2020 before the contest in Pristina, the final outing of the qualifying campaign for both nations.

England manager Gareth Southgate believes Raheem Sterling's public message of support for Joe Gomez has drawn a line under a tumultuous week.

Sterling and Gomez became embroiled in a media storm following a bust-up at the beginning of the international break.

Southgate dropped Manchester City star Sterling for Friday's Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Montenegro, a match partially overshadowed by the boos that greeted Liverpool defender Gomez upon his second-half introduction at Wembley.

The "upsetting experience" for Gomez, as Southgate termed it, prompted Sterling to issue a social media statement accepting "full responsibility" for the spat and defending his team-mate.

An eventful few days took another unexpected turn on Saturday when Gomez pulled out of the squad due to a minor knee problem, but the Three Lions boss now hopes to move forward without further scrutiny of squad harmony. 

"You couldn't make it up, really, if you tried," Southgate said of Gomez's injury, which rules him out of Sunday's game against Kosovo.

"He's absolutely fine. He took a clash of knees [on Friday]. We scanned it just to be certain and I think he'll be fine in a couple of days, but he wasn't able to train."

Southgate continued: "We actually ended up having a chuckle this morning at the ridiculousness of him having to go home in the way he did.

"It's been a difficult week for him but one that will make him stronger and one that he's dealt with really well.

"I think now is a good moment for him just to go home for a couple of days, clear his head. The pleasing thing for me is that we've got him back on the pitch.

"I think the fact that Raheem put out the tweet that he did the other night was real closure on that whole incident.

"We get Raheem back on the pitch [against Kosovo]. We won the match on Thursday and we can now just look forward."

England have already sealed Euro 2020 qualification leading into Sunday's final Group A fixture in Pristina.

Southgate will reportedly hand goalkeeper Nick Pope his first international start, while Callum Hudson-Odoi could replace Jadon Sancho in attack.

Liverpool pair Joe Gomez and Jordan Henderson have been ruled out of England's final Euro 2020 qualifier against Kosovo on Sunday.

Gomez, 22, sustained a knock to the knee in training on Friday and will not travel with the rest of Gareth Southgate's squad, an England statement confirmed.

The injury caps a tumultuous few days for the defender, who was involved in a bust-up with Raheem Sterling earlier in the week.

Some fans booed Gomez when he was introduced as a second-half substitute during England's clinical 7-0 win over Montenegro at Wembley.

Southgate and Sterling expressed bewilderment over the treatment of the young centre-back and England will now be without him as the Three Lions wrap up their Group A campaign, having already sealed qualification.

Henderson was not involved against Montenegro after arriving in camp with a viral infection, which has not fully cleared.

"The pair have returned to their club meaning the Three Lions will head to Pristina on Saturday with a 23-man squad," the statement concluded.

Premier League leaders Liverpool will hope to have both players available when their title tilt resumes away to Crystal Palace on November 23.

Tammy Abraham urged England fans to get behind the squad leading into Euro 2020 following the "unacceptable" treatment of Joe Gomez on Thursday.

Boos were heard at Wembley when Liverpool defender Gomez entered the 7-0 qualifying victory over Montenegro as a second-half substitute. 

The 22-year-old had days earlier been involved in altercation with England team-mate Raheem Sterling, who was subsequently dropped from the matchday squad.

Gareth Southgate admitted to being perplexed by the reception Gomez received and Manchester City forward Sterling took to Twitter to describe it as "wrong".

Chelsea's Abraham agreed, telling reporters: "We're all England, if we're players or fans.

"We said after the game it was unacceptable. We don't need that really. He's a great player.

"Things happen in football, things happen between team-mates. It's about dusting yourself [off] and just moving on. As you can see, we've all done it at England, we've all moved on from the situation.

"We need everyone to be together. At times like that, we need the fans to lift us up and help us. Going into tournaments, we need it."

The booing of Gomez added a sour note to what had otherwise been an exceptional outing for England.

Harry Kane marked the Three Lions' 1000th match with a quickfire hat-trick and Southgate's men confidently confirmed their qualification for Euro 2020.

Abraham rounded out the scoring with his first international goal, a close-range finish from Jadon Sancho's pass.

The striker has been in brilliant form for Chelsea this season and has big ambitions for club and country.

Asked if England can win the Euros, he replied: "I believe so. Bigger dreams, hopefully. Being at the Euros, winning it, top four or top two in the Premier League, just believing.

"The sky's the limit. Hopefully, hopefully – I don't want to jinx myself."

Gareth Southgate said he could not understand the mixed reaction for Joe Gomez when the defender was introduced as a substitute for England days after his clash with Raheem Sterling.

Raheem Sterling criticised a section of England fans for booing Joe Gomez during Thursday's 7-0 win over Montenegro in Euro 2020 qualifying.

Gomez was jeered when introduced in the second half at Wembley, where England's dominant victory booked their place at next year's tournament.

The Liverpool defender was involved in a clash with Sterling leading up to the encounter, with the Manchester City star dropped by England after the incident.

Sterling was unhappy with the England fans who targeted Gomez, saying the 22-year-old had done nothing wrong.

"To all the England fans, I wanted to leave things at [sic] it was but tonight I have to speak again," he wrote on Twitter.

"It was hard for me to see my teammate get booed for something that was my fault.

"Joe hasn't done anything wrong & for me to see someone who keeps his head down and work hard especially after a difficult week for him to be booed when he came on tonight was wrong.

"I've taken full responsibility and accepted the consequence. I felt as though I had to say this get home safe everyone."

England's win was their sixth in seven Group A matches as they sealed a spot at Euro 2020 in what was the nation's 1,000th game.

Harry Kane scored a hat-trick against Montenegro, to go with efforts from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Marcus Rashford, Tammy Abraham and an Aleksandar Sofranac own goal.

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