Former Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor has lambasted Joe Gomez for his subpar performance in Liverpool’s 4-1 loss against Napoli on September 7.The Reds were handed a footballing lesson in Naples after they were thrashed by Luciano Spalletti’s side in their opening UEFA Champions League group game of the season. On a night of poor performances from the Merseyside-based giants, Gomez’s was arguably the worst.
Manager Jurgen Klopp took the England international off during half-time and replaced him with Joel Matip. Liverpool went into the second half 3-0 down, with Gomez playing a direct part in conceding two goals.
Pressure from Napoli’s Kvicha Kvarathskelia led Gomez to lose the ball. The play ultimately led to Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa’s goal in the 31st minute to make it 2-0. The Georgian playmaker got the better of the former Charlton Athletic defender once again and easily beat him inside the box to assist Giovanni Simeone’s goal.
Earlier in the match, Virgil van Dijk blocked Kvaratshkelia’s goal-bound shot that resulted directly from Gomez’s mistake.
Speaking to Football Insider, Agbonlahor said of the center-back’s performance:
“Gomez looked like a Sunday League defender against Napoli, he couldn’t get near anyone and didn’t look like he wanted to defend. Honestly, I think everyone watching that game probably said if they were Gomez, they would have went into the changing room at half-time and got in the shower before the manager took you off.”
“That’s how bad it was, it was one of those performances where you take yourself off. You hold your hands up and say ‘Gaffer, I have to come off, I’ve been so poor.”
Joe Gomez could struggle to reclaim place in Liverpool’s starting XI
There was a time in the 2019-20 season when Gomez and Van Dijk kept 10 league clean sheets in 11 matches. Things have changed since then, with Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip both ahead of the Englishman in the pecking order.
The match against Napoli was seen as a chance for Gomez to stake a claim in Liverpool’s starting XI once more. However, he squandered the opportunity and was dropped for the Reds’ 2-1 Champions League win at Anfield against Ajax on September 13.Speaking about the defender’s chances of getting back into the first team, Agbonhalor added:
“I just can’t see him getting back in. He didn’t play for a long time last season, he finally got a chance and he’s not taken it. It’s come to the stage where you play Fabinho before him because that performance was so poor.”
Seeing Fabinho Tavares play at center-back is a sight Liverpool fans will remember from the 2020-21 season. The Brazil international played 24 matches at the heart of the Reds’ defense as the likes of Van Dijk, Matip, and Gomez were out due to injuries.