Liverpool star Joe Gomez labelled ‘England’s best defender’ by Peter Crouch

Peter Crouch believes Liverpool defender Joe Gomez has become England’s best centre-back after cementing himself as Virgil van Dijk ’s first choice partner.

Going into this season, there were questions surrounding Gomez’s fitness and he was expected to be in for a stiff battle with Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren to partner Van Dijk.

However, the Englishman has been ever-present in the Reds back four this season, featuring in more games than Matip and Lovren put together.

His performances have clearly impressed former Liverpool striker Crouch, with the 39-year-old labelling him “England’s best defender” and explaining that playing alongside Van Dijk has helped his progress.

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“He has lifted those around him and it is noticeable how Joe Gomez has benefited from the Dutchman’s presence,” Crouch wrote in his column for the Daily Mail .

“Gomez is now England’s best defender — would we have said the same about John Stones if he had enjoyed two years playing alongside Van Dijk?”

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has been equally positive about Gomez and Van Dijk’s burgeoning partnership, calling it sensational earlier in the season.

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“The boys are incredibly talented,” Klopp said back in December. “The boy [Gomez] is still young, that is not the reason – it’s just that you keep rhythm and you keep players together.

“But these two, Joe and Virg, they like each other a lot, and they can play sensationally well together. This outstanding skilled boy has this kind of improvement in these moments.

“He has improved a lot there, and that’s all good. Football-wise he’s an exceptional player.”

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Gomez’s performances have come at an important time for his international career, with the European Championships on the horizon in the summer.

A settled centre-back pairing has been a problem area for Gareth Southgate , with Manchester United captain Harry Maguire paired with the likes of Michael Keane, John Stones, Tyrone Mings and Gomez at times.

With Keane and Stones failing to convince at club level this season and Mings lacking top level experience, Gomez is well placed to earn a starting berth for the national team.

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