John Aldridge offers his thoughts on Liverpool's new recruits Joe Gomez, Nathaniel Clyne and Christian Benteke

Anfield Night

Aldridge gave his verdict on the full debuts of Joe Gomez, Nathaniel Clyne and Christian Benteke.

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge seemed impressed with most of the new signings that featured for the Reds during their opening day victory against Stoke City.

No fewer than four new signings started the game in James Milner, Joe Gomez, Nathaniel Clyne and Christian Benteke, while Roberto Firmino came off the bench towards the end of the game for a bit of game time. 

In his Liverpool Echo column, Aldridge ran the rule over some of the new recruits as he praised the Reds for laying a few ghosts from their 6-1 hammering at the Britannia Stadium in May to bed. 

In the back line, Liverpool lined up with two new full-backs in Nathaniel Clyne, and teenager Joe Gomez, who both earned the praises of Aldridge.

"I thought Nathaniel Clyne was superb on his first Premier League appearance for the club. In fact, I’d have put him down as man of the match personally. Defensively, he was outstanding, nobody got past him, and he slotted in perfectly. It was a great debut from the £12m man.

"I’m wary of speaking too much, too soon about a young footballer, but I think Liverpool may have “found one” in Joe Gomez.

"He’s 18 years of age, but you wouldn’t know it to watch him. He’s so comfortable, composed, quality. That was a proper test for a young defender; up against a wily player like Jon Walters, in front of a hostile crowd who will always try and put you off your game. There were a couple of little errors, but that was a superb performance from the young man."

In terms of the defence, Aldridge also praised Dejan Lovren's performance, but praised the man operating at the other end of the field in Christian Benteke.

The £32.5 million may not have had the effect that he would have liked on the side as scoring opportunities were limited for the Belgian, but Aldridge has looked beyond that, citing the aerial presence he gave the side.

He added: "I saw things to take from his first competitive outing for the club.

"How many times last season did we see a ball go forwards, and nobody was there to challenge for it, to win it?

"And how many times on Sunday did Benteke get the better of his man in the air? He won almost everything, and it was great to see."

One thing that people associated with Liverpool will want to see in the coming weeks and months from Benteke is goals but it is quite heartening for them to see a forward who can take on a defence that is renowned for being able to bully their opposing forwards out of a game. 

Following the win at the weekend, the optimism surrounding the Reds has increased significantly, as people didn't really know what to expect going into the new season after last season's disappointment and such a busy summer in the transfer market. 

As Aldridge has pointed out, the Reds will need to back up this opening day victory with a win against newly-promoted Bournemouth when the two sides meet at Anfield on Monday. The challenge for the new signings is to perform consistently over the campaign and help Liverpool on their disappointing campaign from last season. 

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