Joe Gomez never scores. I don’t mean that in a ‘Joelinton never scores’ kind of way. I mean he has literally never scored a goal in a competitive match.
Don’t believe me? Go type ‘Joe Gomez goals’ into a search and I swear you’ll find nothing of relevance. I’ve trawled the depths of all the stat sites and, I promise you, it’s true.
To my knowledge, he is the second-most featured outfield player in Europe’s top four divisions not to have scored a competitive goal.
Shocked? I was too. For a player of his calibre not to have found the net once during all of his time at Charlton, Liverpool and England (at all age groups) is ridiculous.
Admittedly Gomez is not a complete goalscoring virgin. He did manage one solitary strike in a non-competitive match – for Liverpool’s Under-23 side vs Reading in Premier League 2, back in June 2017. Probably not much of a consolation to him.
Yes he’s a centre-back, and yes he will ultimately be judged by how many goals he helps keep out – but after 170 appearances for club and country without a goal, I’m sure he’s starting to wonder whether it’ll ever happen for him.
He has now played an astounding 13,000 minutes of football without hitting the net once.
The stats don’t lie. There is clearly something deep-rooted at play here, a facet of his game that has been neglected over the years.
Sky Sports pundit Micah Richards recently said of Gomez, “I want to see him become a real leader this season. I know he can do it .” I do agree that Gomez, who has captained England at youth level, could be a more vocal figure, but I’d much rather see him do some damage in the opposition’s box.
Given the choice, I think most England fans who watched their team’s recent rudderless performances in the Nations League would pick the former.
I suppose you’d have to ask Liverpool fans which they’d prefer: another leader in a team full of leaders, or another defender chipping in with 5+ goals a season? A player of his character and quality is certainly capable of both.
Both Gomez and his defensive partner Virgil van Dijk join the attack for Liverpool’s set-pieces, but their contrasting attacking stats couldn’t be further apart. Van Dijk, who has scored 45 goals for club and country in 423 career appearances, bags a goal almost every tenth outing. Gomez on the other hand, it seems, has an issue simply carving out opportunities.
Gomez has only managed a shot on goal every 6.5 games in the Premier League. An unbelievable stat, considering Liverpool have usually been the dominant team in any given match over the past few campaigns.
Indeed Liverpool were awarded 257 corners in the Premier League last season, second only to Man City, who won a staggering 298. Gomez made a total of 28 Premier League appearances last term, but failed to register a single shot on goal – a poor return by any measure.
He is certainly less physically imposing and commanding in the air than his defensive partner. Perhaps that is an angle he can, and should, exploit though – Van Dijk will always draw the lion’s share of defender’s attention away from him.
It is so easy to forget that Gomez is still young, it feels like the 23 year-old has been around for an age. He probably doesn’t get the recognition his mature play warrants, but if he can address the few weaker aspects of his game this season, you feel the plaudits and goals will surely come his way.
For now, fortunately, Gomez is not the most active player without a competitive goal to his name. The unfortunate man with the most appearances is Sampdoria stalwart and former Italian youth international, Nicola Murru.
Left-back Murru, 25, has been with Samp since 2017, moving there from Cagliari. He has racked up an impressive 230 appearances for club and country without netting.
Spare a thought for Signor Murru and Mr Gomez. Their day will surely come.
Eoin Mac Raghnaill is on Twitter