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Liverpool legend Sami Hyypia has heaped praise on Joe Gomez, claiming the defender is like a ‘young Virgil van Dijk’ who can be an England star for years to come.

Gomez was enjoying a superb season for the Reds before he sustained a broken leg against Burnley in December which ruled him out for three months.In the 13 Premier League matches Gomez started this term, Liverpool conceded just four goals.

And Hyppia, who made over 300 league appearances for the Anfield club, believes Gomez has got it all.

“Joe Gomez can be the leading centre-back in England for a long time. He is still young and he can still learn. With experience he will learn, but he has everything,” Hyypia said.

“I know Virgil van Dijk is not the oldest guy, but Gomez is like a young Virgil.
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“He has the same qualities—he’s so quick and so strong in his challenges and he can play football as well.

“I’m not there for the whole time so I can’t comment on how good he is at communicating on the field, but if he keeps learning that side of things it will help his game, the guy next to him and the whole team.

“I just think he will be so good for Liverpool, but it is important that he stays fit to have that bright future ahead of him.”

Gomez is closing in on his return and looks set to be involved in the Premier League clash against Tottenham following the international break.

Furthermore, he could be fit for their upcoming Champions League quarter-final tie early next month – which will be a huge boost for Jurgen Klopp after Andrew Robertson picked up a suspension for the first-leg.

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The midfielder will be examined by the club’s medical team after feeling tightness in his left hamstring

Liverpool will assess the extent of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s hamstring injury on Saturday after the midfielder’s return to action was cut short.

The England international made his first appearance in 11 months on Friday, turning out for Neil Critchley’s under-23 side in a Premier League 2 fixture against Derby County.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was due to play the first 45 minutes at the Moor Farm training complex, but was replaced four minutes before half-time after feeling a tightness in his left hamstring.The 25-year-old headed straight for the dressing rooms, stopping to pose for pictures and sign autographs for a handful of supporters, before being transported back to Merseyside.

He will now be examined closely by Liverpool’s medical team, with Critchley confirming afterwards that the £35 million man had felt something prior to his substitution.

“He obviously had a bit of an issue but hopefully it’s nothing major,” Critchley said. “The bonus for him is that it’s not his knee, so he’s delighted there are no problems with that.

“He was enjoying himself, he was happy to be back playing. Hopefully when he wakes up in the morning, fingers crossed it’s nothing and only a precaution.

“The idea was only ever to play him for 45 minutes at most anyway. He nearly got that, as well.

“Hopefully it’s not as bad as it first looked. He was looking over (to the bench) and we weren’t sure. It’s maybe some kind of muscle problem and maybe one to assess tomorrow.

“What was good is that he was sensible. He came off quite quick. He has handled that situation quite well.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain has not featured for Liverpool since damaging knee ligaments in the Champions League semi-final against Roma last April, but started in a three-man midfield on Friday, alongside Connor Randall and Adam Lewis.

He showed some nice touches, including a couple of drilled long-range passes, before being replaced by Isaac Christie-Davies. Liverpool went on to win 3-1, with Curtis Jones scoring twice and Rafa Camacho once. Reds sporting director Michael Edwards, and Academy director Alex Inglethorpe were among those in attendance.

“I’ve never met him [Oxlade-Chamberlain] before and you can see he is a bubbly, positive person,” added Critchley. “Even when he was on the pitch you could see he was enjoying playing again. He brought a calmness and maturity to our play and our boys are delighted to play with someone like that.

“Sometimes we forget they just love playing football. It was exciting for Alex to put his boots and his shinpads and his kit back on today. He was like a kid again.

“It was great to see him out there playing.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has already ruled Oxlade-Chamberlain out of consideration for first-team duties until at least after the international break later this month. The Reds play Burnley at Anfield on Sunday, travel to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday and then visit Fulham.

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Milner has been a key figure for Jurgen Klopp’s side this season as they battle with Manchester City for the Premier League title.

The 33-year-old joined Liverpool on a free transfer from City in the summer of 2015 and was quickly announced as the club’s vice-captain.

Milner has featured at left-back and central midfield for the Reds this term, making 32 appearances and chipping in with five goals.But there has been no official confirmation over whether Milner is actually out of contract at the end of the season or not.

Transfermarkt – a reputable source of contractual information for professional footballers – has marked Milner’s contract at Liverpool as due to expire on 30.06.2019.

They report that Milner is represented by Samii Sport-Marketing Agentur, who also have team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold as a client.

The Liverpool Echo also stated in an article dated last November that Milner’s contract runs out in June 2019.Which is confusing, given their Liverpool correspondent James Pearce took a Q&A last September suggesting otherwise.

“There seems to have been a bit of confusion around the length of James Milner’s contract but I’ve checked and it definitely runs until the summer of 2020,” he said.

“That’s why there’s no rush to think about an extension and all parties are relaxed about the situation.

“Milner will be 34 by the time his current deal expires. He might fancy a new challenge then in the twilight of his career.

“I think much will depend on how he performs over the next 12 months. If he keeps playing like he is currently then I’m sure Liverpool will offer him a new deal.”Various other sites such as This Is Anfield also insist Milner is tied down until 2020.

Liverpool have been swift to secure the futures of many of their star names this season, with Andy Robertson the last to pen a new five-year-deal in January.

The club has also seen Sadio Mane and Joe Gomez sign new contracts recently while Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Jordan Henderson signed long-term extensions last summer.

It is unlikely Liverpool would want a repeat of the Emre Can situation, with the midfielder running down his terms at Anfield and leaving for Juventus on a free transfer in 2018.

However, four players who look unlikely to be offered the chance to stay are Daniel Sturridge, Alberto Moreno, Connor Randall and Adam Bogdan.

Sturridge has featured predominantly from the bench this season in his 22 appearances, while Moreno has played just five times.

Randall, 23, is surplus to requirements and has recently returned from a loan spell with Rochdale, while goalkeeper Bogdan is on loan at Hibernian.

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It feels like a lifetime ago since Ben Woodburn scored his first Liverpool goal.

That was in the League Cup back in 2016. Since then, Donald Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States, Theresa May failed to get a majority at the general election she decided to call, seven new Marvel Cinematic Universe films have been made, and Liverpool got to the final of the Champions League.

All is not lost, though, according to Liverpool Under 23s manager Neil Critchley. Though things have been tough for him recently, Critchley is confident that the Wales international will come through this period all the stronger for it.

“Every young boy’s pathway to becoming a Premier League footballer is different,” Critchley told the Liverpool Echo.

“It’s not all going to be the pathway that Trent Alexander-Arnold took. By his own admission, Trent had a bit of fortune at times.

“Ben might have to go via a different route. You only have to look at the England team currently and the amount of players who had a number of loans when they were looking to establish themselves.

“Ben is still a young boy – he’s still eligible for the UEFA Youth League competition. He’s going through that rollercoaster ride and as long as he knows we’re here to support him that’s fine.

“He doesn’t always share his thoughts openly, but if you ask him he’ll give you an honest opinion and that’s what I like about him.

“He obviously had a bit of a bad time at Sheffield United and got an injury towards the back end of that loan spell. He wasn’t quite fully fit around January time so going back out on loan didn’t happen for him.

“He’s very grounded, calm and level-headed. That will be of huge benefit to him going forward. There’s no denying it’s been a tougher period for him but in six or 12 months’ time we might look back on it as a time that benefited his career hugely.”

Here’s hoping. The path from being a promising young player to a top professional footballer is a fraught one. You can have all the talent in the world and the odds are still stacked against you. We know that Woodburn has the ability, but now we need to see if he has everything else.