Liverpool ready to give Gomez debut
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is likely to hand a Premier League debut to teenager Joe Gomez against Stoke City on Sunday.
Gomez, 18, was signed for £3.5m from Charlton Athletic during the summer and it was initially believed that he would have to bide his time before making his senior bow.
There were even suggestions he would be sent on loan for the season, but they were rebuffed by Rodgers following a couple of training sessions.
The England U-19 defender has impressed during the warm-up games at left-back and is likely to be picked instead of Spaniard Alberto Moreno, who was replaced at half-time in Liverpool's 6-1 defeat by Stoke on the final day of last season.
Rodgers has made it clear that Gomez's youth is no barrier to his selection for such a significant fixture. Although he has played most of his career at centre-half and right-back, the coaching staff have no qualms about him continuing in a left-sided role.
Gomez's prospect at Anfield will be enhanced by working with Liverpool's new assistant manager Sean O'Driscoll, who managed Gomes at England youth level and recommended that the Merseyside club pursue the youngster, who has been likened to Rio Ferdinand.
While Gomez looks to propel his career, Liverpool are braced to have to wait until deadline day before receiving realistic offers for their unwanted stars Mario Balotelli. Fabio Borini and Jose Enrique, who are training with what has become known as the Melwood 'bomb squad', away from the first team, following the departure of Rickie Lambert to West Brom.
Meanwhile, Christian Benteke has been handed Liverpool's famous number nine shirt which became available following the departure of Ricky Lambert to West Brom.