Joe Gomez has called Virgil van Dijk an ‘incredible influence’ on his career since joining Liverpool and has opened up on his relationship with his centre-back partner.
Van Dijk has established himself as arguably the world’s finest defender since his record-breaking move to Merseyside two years ago, winning the PFA Player of the Year award last season and helping Jurgen Klopp’s side to Champions League success.
After suffering from several serious injuries in the early years of his Liverpool career, Gomez has since cemented himself as a first-choice alongside the Dutchman and has flourished amid regular first-team football in his preferred central role.
The 22-year-old has opened up on the influence Van Dijk has had on his development over the past two seasons, and believes the duo’s off-field relationship helps their partnership in the Reds’ backline.
“I’ve said it before but obviously, the stature of Virgil when he came to the club was obviously massive, I was just a young centre-back, hadn’t really got as much games there as I would’ve liked,” he told Sky Sports.
“As soon as he came in he had open arms and we get on really well.
“Off the pitch we have a great relationship, just casually speaking about general things and life. That helps on the pitch when you just have that understanding and he’s your mate at the end of the day.
“Sometimes he gives me an earful but it’s a massive help and a confidence boost, just having someone like him beside you. When there’s a one-on-one battle you know he’s going to dominate. He doesn’t lose headers at all.
“That’s not just me and the team, it’s the stadium. I think when Virg goes down there’s a bit of a gasp and a worry.
“When Virgil’s there he’s a real dominant force. He’s an incredible influence on me and someone I can look up to. He doesn’t have many flaws at all.”