Liverpool blow as surgery rules Gomez out of Champions League final

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The defender has impressed this season but he will be out of the final against Real Madrid, and will also miss England's tilt at the World Cup

Liverpool defender Joe Gomez has been ruled out of the Champions League final having undergone ankle surgery.

The 20-year-old injured himself in England's friendly clash with Netherlands in March, and did not fully recover prior to the Reds' Premier League encounters with West Brom and Stoke City.

Gomez played through the pain barrier in those matches, and has now been forced to undergo surgery after aggravating the problem.

A key member of Jurgen Klopp's defence, Gomez had impressed in the early stages of the season and has appeared 23 times in the top flight this season, while also playing a major role in Liverpool's route to the Champions League final.

However, Gomez will be absent from the showdown with Real Madrid, which takes place on 26 May, and will also miss the World Cup this summer.

Gomez played 90 minutes at centre-back in the Three Lions' 0-0 draw with Brazil in November, and also played 45 minutes in the goalless stalemate with Germany. He managed just 10 minutes against Netherlands before sustaining his original injury.

Gareth Southgate has repeatedly utilised a three-at-the-back formation heading into the tournament in Russia, and Gomez may well have been a selection, though his dreams of heading to the showpiece are over.

Of course, Liverpool will be without the youngster against Brighton on Sunday, their final fixture of the season, and one that they must win if they are to guarantee qualification for next year's Champions League via league position.

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The Reds are currently third in the table, but they have played a game more than Tottenham, who are a point behind in fourth, and Chelsea, who are three behind in fifth. Spurs face Newcastle on Wednesday, while the Blues take on Huddersfield Town.

Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also miss the World Cup after sustaining a knee injury, while Adam Lallana is also on the treatment table with a hamstring problem.

Both Joel Matip and Emre Can are also struggling and could miss the climax of the season.

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