The start of the 2015-16 Premier League season has exceeded Joe Gomez’s expectations while serving as a well-received reality check for Alberto Moreno.
Moreno, 23, is older, more experienced and more familiar with life at Liverpool than Gomez, 18, but he trails his teenage teammate in the competition for the job as Liverpool’s starting left back. Gomez played all 90 minutes in Liverpool’s wins over Stoke City and Bournemouth. Moreno has played just 10 minutes (as a substitute against Bournemouth) so far this season.
Gomez and Moreno both are aware Brendan Rodgers could change the left-back pecking order over the course of the season. Gomez’s rapid ascent at Liverpool still surprises him, but he’s working hard to retain his place in the starting lineup.
“To be fair, it probably hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Gomez told LiverpoolFC.com on Friday. “I think it will over time, but at the moment I’m just trying to keep going and keep working.
“It’s definitely been far more than I expected, to come in and play the first two games. I knew there was a possibility of me going out on loan, but this was the aim -– to try to get into the team.
“I’m enjoying it and I’m happy to have played -– and obviously we’ve got two good wins, so it’s been great so far. But it’s early doors and only two games into a long season, so I know there’s still a lot of hard work to be done. I have to keep working hard to try to stay in the team.”
Moreno’s attitude and performances in practice impress Rodgers, but the Liverpool boss doesn’t seem set to restore Moreno to the starting lineup just yet.
“Alberto has trained very well,” Rodgers said Friday in a press conference ahead of Monday’s clash with Arsenal, according to LiverpoolFC.com “He understands the reasons why he’s not in the team at this moment, but he, like all the other players, it was very important for me to acknowledge to them that it will be difficult between now and the international break, especially if the team is winning.
“But there are going to be opportunities for players this season, and there are opportunities every single day in training. And Alberto has trained really, really well, with no drop-off in his enthusiasm. He has quality and knows the areas where we want to help him improve in.”
Competition ultimately will help Gomez and Moreno improve. Liverpool only can benefit from having two or more young, hungry players striving to claim the same position during this marathon of a season.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@LFCjpg