At the time of time of this interview Liverpool have played 26 Premier League games this season winning 25 of them, drawing one and conceding just 15 goals in the process. That is phenomenal. That long-awaited title is inevitable. But if you reckon Liverpool's defence think it's job done, then speak to Joe Gomez. There's an unbeaten record to protect, history to defend, and pride to earn. This ain't finished yet, far from it. For Liverpool's defence, 12 cup finals await.

Somewhat ironically the talk over the past few transfer windows was about Liverpool needing to improve their defence; finding that man to stand alongside Virgil van Dijk, finding that man who can help hold the fort when two of the world's most attacking full backs go in search of gold. That man is Joe Gomez. A signing of Brendan Rodgers and a student of Jurgen Klopp. As Gomez prepares for that final push, on the cusp of creating history, we caught up with him during the Premier League Winter Break to talk about the pressure, the title and the battle-hardened mentality of this Liverpool squad.

Joe, Liverpool have been referred to as ‘Mentality Monsters’ in the media. How much do you think the mental strength comes from the players and how much comes from the manager?

The manager is the one that instills our beliefs and our ways of playing and ‘mentality’, as you say, so it’s probably a 50/50 thing. Him implementing it and then us having to carry it out on the pitch. That balance is obviously crucial, because if we don’t perform or execute what he wants, then things probably won’t go to plan. But it’s definitely been important for us this season, especially in later phases of a game. Games hardly ever go exactly how you plan them to.

How does the squad mentality and individual mentality change from the start of the season to the business end that we’re coming into now?

I suppose they’re different phases. At the start of the season you’re trying to get a good foundation and trying to gel together if there’s any new players. You sort of don’t know where you’re at because it’s so early on. So once you get to the business end, where we’re at now, you’ve played all of the teams, you know what to expect in a way and you sort of have to work of what position you’re in, and in our case we’re in a good position. But it’s just taking it a game at a time and just trying to continue that form and the level of performance.


Do you think that the relentlessness of last season has made you as a squad stronger going into this year?

Yeah, 100 percent. I think obviously the balance of the Premier League and the Champions League, with the achievement of winning the Champions League but then missing out on the Prem, it probably was a blessing in disguise in a way. I think it taught us that you can get 97 points and not win the league. So there’s just no room for error, and I think that’s probably taken things to a new level in comparison to previous years in what it takes to win. Statistically, the points you need is well below what we need to be getting now. It’s part and parcel, but it’s making the Premier League a better thing to watch.

On game day, what input does the manager have when it comes to relaxing you as a group and keeping you focused but in good spirits before a game?

I think it varies really. Some games he feels that he needs a bit more from us. He’s such a good judge of character now, just knowing us as a team, gauging the occasion. It does vary. Sometimes he does want more, sometimes he just says to enjoy the game. There’s pressure, but I’d say Barca last year, when we were 3-0 down, he was just like “Play your game." Obviously there wasn’t much room for error, but he just told us to enjoy it. They were going to come here expecting a certain type of game, but we just had to do what we had to do.

Do you think your mentality and your preparation has changed throughout your career so far?

On a personal level, yeah, I’d definitely say so. When you’re younger you feel the pressure a lot more. That’s not to say that you don’t as you get older, but I suppose you get a bit more perspective. Then going through injuries and so on, I think just your way of thinking changes. For me personally I’ve had different experiences with different games with different levels of pressure, but all you can try and do is enjoy the game. Those that handle the pressure most sometimes are the ones that perform the best. It’s a big part of the game, definitely.


We’ve heard the manager saying that he doesn’t know how many points you are actually leading by. What’s it like for the players, do you keep an eye on the table? Generally through any normal season, but also specifically through this season?

I think it varies within the group. Some lads are a bit more in tune statistically, like if you asked them who you’ve got next they’d be able to list the next six games. But me personally, nah. There’s times when I don’t even know who we’ve got beyond the next game. If I’m watching Sky Sports and they show the table then I’ll look at it, but I don’t go out of my way to look at it. Maybe once I might’ve Googled it.

Unless it’s a driving part of the season, like you need to get this many points, then I wouldn’t really know. But as I said, that varies within the team. The Gaffer is someone who wears his heart on his sleeve and what he says is what he really means. Genuinely, I think he just looks at a game at a time and he emphasises that so much to us, so I think it just is what he says really.

Winning the league is one thing, but as a defender, the thought of going the whole season unbeaten… how much would that mean to you?

Going unbeaten would be massive. That’s one of the biggest challenges, going into each game knowing every team will want to be the ones to end that. I think that’s why the biggest thing is having to deal with the pressure in the sense that we haven’t lost yet, so every game so far has been with the feeling that we can’t slip up. There’s no room for error at all. The record stands at the minute, but if we continue then that would be something special. All we can do is give our all on the pitch, and sometimes I think what will be will be.

Winning the league is winning the league, but is there that feeling that you want to have that moment of winning it, whether it be at Anfield, at Goodison, at the Etihad, rather than doing a Leicester where they won it without playing a game?

I suppose if there was a game on the line and we know that winning that game would result in us winning the Prem then it would be special, but I think all it is is just winning, full stop. I think for us and for the history of the club you know how important the Prem is. So just winning it full stop. I don’t think anyone’s too worried about particulars this year, with certain teams or stadiums, it’s just winning it. Maybe I’m speaking on a more personal level, because if you ask some of the supporters they may say that it’d be nice to win it at Goodison, but for me, just winning it.

Goodison or the Etihad then... if you had to choose one?

Ahh… probably Goodison.

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