Liverpool being without Virgil van Dijk does not come with any positives, but one thing that it could do is offer a reminder of Joe Gomez's abilities - and hand a fresh opportunity for the 23-year-old to impress.

In the absence of Van Dijk, it is more important than ever that Gomez and Joel Matip stay fit, something neither have managed perfectly over the last couple of seasons.

The pair have never started a game alongside one another, despite both having been at the club for four seasons, though that surely will change over the next couple of months.

For Gomez, in particular, though, the Van Dijk injury presents a chance to impress. Since Van Dijk has been at the club, Gomez has evolved into playing exclusively as a central defender, no longer being forced out to full-back.

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With that, the 23-year-old has become one of the best defenders in the world, though he has had forgettable performances - none more so than against Aston Villa earlier in the month - alongside the outright best in that position.

Gomez, though, even when he has been playing at his peak, has always had Van Dijk alongside him as a comparison point, and as a potential explanation or assistant for his good showings, of which there have been plenty.

Without Van Dijk, Gomez must now show that he is just as capable alongside another partner, much more for the team than his own personal gratification.

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On the Blood Red podcast, Dan Kay said: "Van Dijk's absence does give Gomez the chance to [show people what he is really capable of].

"In the same way that going back a few years we always thought that Jordan Henderson maybe wasn't quite the same player when Steven Gerrard was around, in Gerrard's absence, Henderson stepped up, felt he had to assume more responsibility and did so.

"The same may well apply to Gomez, and while he has a checkered history in terms of injuries, his injuries tend to have been more contact injuries than muscular."

Gomez remains first-choice for Jurgen Klopp even without Van Dijk alongside him, and as well as Fabinho has done in the role, it would be much more beneficial for Liverpool to have the Brazilian available in his usual midfield slot.

There is no doubt that the England international remains one of the most highly-rated young defenders in the world at the moment, and the next few months can help underline that even further.

No one was happy to learn the extent of the Van Dijk injury - not least his regular partner, Gomez - but the ex-Charlton man can step up again to help fill the void left by the Dutchman's absence.