Is the time for Joe Gomez's return to the Liverpool starting XI drawing closer?

Anfield

Gomez does seem to be the more suitable player on the right side of the back three.

Liverpool's return to three at the back has meant the Reds have seen less of one of their more impressive summer signings. 

Gomez started the season playing at left-back, and considering the 18-year-old had arrived from Charlton Athletic billed as a centre-back who could play at right-back, and had not played a Premier League game, the performances and temperament he showed made several sit up and take note. 

Since the Reds switch from a four to a three, Gomez has only featured on one occasion - in the 1-1 draw with Bordeaux in the Europa League, with Brendan Rodgers preferring Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel and a man that regards himself more as a central midfielder in Emre Can.

  PositionTeamError Lead To ShotAppearancesMins Played
Emre Can MF Liverpool 1 7 470

Can, however, hasn't been demonstrating the form to match his evident talent lately. He came up with an inexplicable error which went unpunished towards the end of the first half of the win over Aston Villa at the weekend, but his hesitancy contributed towards Rudy Gestede getting the visitors back into the game. 

  PositionTeamPassing AccuracyAppearancesMins Played
Mamadou Sakho DF Liverpool 91% 2 180
Martin Skrtel DF Liverpool 88% 7 630
Dejan Lovren DF Liverpool 86% 5 450
Emre Can MF Liverpool 82% 7 470
Joseph Gomez DF Liverpool 79% 5 438

Gomez may not be the highest in terms of keeping hold of the ball, but he has a huge mitigating circumstance by playing a more unfamiliar wide role - though you could argue Can is also mitigated by playing in midfield for a few games so far this season before reverting to this system. 

Sakho and Skrtel seem more comfortable and familiar in the role, and given that Gomez has played on the right side of the defence coming through the ranks, it would seem a sensible move for the teenager to be given a few games there. Though Can performed well in the role last season, he doesn't seem to be quite at the races this term. 

It's quite likely he can be given an opportunity again when the Reds return to Europa League action when they face Sion on Thursday night, though it would be a big call for him to be thrown into the Merseyside derby, even if he has shown he can handle the bigger occasion, like he did in the 0-0 draw with Arsenal earlier on in the season. 

What would be good to see is Gomez given more opportunities in the role Emre Can currently occupies, while the German could be given more time to try and find his form further up the field.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch