Joe Gomez has admitted that he understands the surprise surrounding his decision to extend his contract at Liverpool.
The 25-year-old has tumbled down the pecking order under Jurgen Klopp and was restricted to just four Premier League starts last season, but he still opted to commit his long-term future to the club earlier this summer by signing a new five-year contract.
With the World Cup coming up later this year, many assumed that Gomez would look to leave Liverpool this summer, but the defender told the Liverpool Echo that he believes he is good enough to fight his way back into Klopp's plans.
“I can understand why people would have thought I’d be considering moving on, for sure, 100%,” he said.
“It’s apparent from my age now and based on my opportunities in the past, there was definitely still a decision for me to make.
“I guess you could see it at as a crossroads. But speaking to the club, I knew it was an important decision for me to make. Fundamentally, the opportunity that I have here and the platform and the chance to be at this club is one that is hard to walk away from. Essentially, it was me accepting the fact I have got to take on the challenge.”
Rather than walk away, Gomez has opted to battle Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate for minutes, and the Englishman wouldn't have it any other way.
“The whole energy within the camp is amazing and I wouldn’t choose any other people to be in competition with, in that environment and the atmosphere we have,” Gomez added. “It pushes us in the best way possible.
“Generally we are good friends and it gives us the platform to want the team to do well. But because it’s a friendly environment it allows us to strive and not feel any animosity. I do feel this is probably the best collective group of centre-backs around. We probably have the best in Virg, and Joel and Ibou are unbelievable as they showed last season. We stand up well against any other team of centre-backs in the world.”
On Van Dijk and Matip, he continued: “We have great role models in front of us. They are both obviously very experienced now and still at the top of their game, and have prime years ahead of them.
"It helps give context, I suppose. Virgil had gone 26 when he arrived, so me looking at what he achieved from that age on, knowing I still have the opportunity to try and have that time ahead of me, is obviously something to chase and aspire towards.
“What Virg has done is going to make him a legend at the club in world football. That’s the target. To aim high helps you achieve as much as you can. Ibou being even younger than me, it’s obvious we have time ahead of us.”