‘Not all about Van Dijk, it’s devastating for Gomez’ – Milner feels for injured Liverpool defender

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The experienced Reds midfielder believes an “amazing” England international will return even stronger from his latest fitness setback

James Milner admits to being “devastated” for Joe Gomez after the Liverpool defender’s latest injury setback, with the versatile Reds star eager to point out that it is not all about Virgil van Dijk at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp has endured a wretched run of luck on the fitness front over recent weeks.

Talismanic Dutch centre-half Van Dijk suffered knee ligament damage during a Merseyside derby date with Everton in October, with Fabinho then laid low after being asked to provide cover.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson have also made their way to the treatment room, while Gomez has followed Van Dijk in being forced under the knife.

Milner feels for the 23-year-old centre-half, with his senior career to date having been severely disrupted by regular spells on the sidelines.

“We’ve spoken about Virg a lot, Joe is exactly the same. Devastated for him,” Milner told Premier League Productions.

“An amazing guy, first and foremost and most importantly, and you don’t want to see it happen to anyone but [especially not] someone like him. As a player, how good he is as well. People forget how young he is and what he’s done at this club already and how much he has improved and continues to improve.

“He’s still really young. He’s been through this once before with a bad injury and came through it stronger, so if anybody has got the mental fortitude to deal with this, it’s him. He has been through it before and he came back stronger, and I’m sure that will be the case again.

“Obviously we’re gutted for him and how well he’s been playing as well. Not only for him as a player and a person, but also for us as a team it’s obviously a big miss.

“But, like I say, he’s mentally very strong and he’ll get through it and come back stronger. We’re obviously all here with him and supporting him as much as we can.”

With so many players unavailable to him, Klopp faces some tricky selection decisions as Liverpool prepare to return to Premier League action with a home date against table-topping Leicester on Sunday.

Milner believes the Reds boast the strength in depth to counter any absences, despite speculation building regarding possible forays into the January transfer window.

The 34-year-old midfielder added: “We’re blessed to have a lot of good players in the squad, there’s always competition for places.

“The guys who have stepped into the team in recent weeks, at centre-half and any position, have done very well. Rhys and Nat as well. There’s options there. Fabinho has done very well when he has played.

“That’s what you have to do as a squad, at times in the season you have to make changes and adapt to new formations and sometimes new positions. We’re fortunate to have a lot of good players in the squad and players who can adapt to different positions and deal with that.

“We’re lucky to have those options, and I’m sure the manager will work out the best way we’re going to go and go from there.”

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