Liverpool's first-choice right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold sustained a hamstring pull in the 2-0 win over Arsenal on 16 March. The injury is expected to keep the defender sidelined "for weeks", according to Jurgen Klopp.
Three days after the Arsenal win, Joe Gomez deputised in place of Alexander-Arnold in the cup. The Englishman's performance was impressive. He provided width, an option on the flanks, and was defensively sound.
But with all due respect to Nottingham Forest, sterner tests lay on the horizon.
Liverpool's next five fixtures - to be played over a fourteen-day period (2-16 April) - could define their season. These include a crucial Premier League game away to league leaders Manchester City, both legs of the Champions League quarter-final against Benfica, and an FA Cup semi-final.
So it is vitally important Gomez hits the ground running in the absence of arguably Liverpool's most creative outlet.
An almost ever-present in Liverpool's 2019/20 Premier League winning back-line and a key player in the Champions League triumph a year prior, Gomez is proven at the elite level. He is quick and a capable ball carrier from deep.
His best strengths are his positional awareness, and ability to sniff out danger and make crucial interceptions using his pace.
He's no Alexander-Arnold when it comes to making pin-point 40-yard passes that stretch the opposition's defensive line, but he is a grafter and willing to bomb forward.
His Liverpool future
Gomez has had it tough these past 18 months. The defender injured a tendon in his left knee back in November 2020 and was subsequently sidelined for the rest of the 2020/21 season. He has struggled to regain a place in the first eleven since.
The ex-Charlton man has made just one Premier League start this season.
Joel Matip's resurgent form after injury setbacks of his own and the signing of Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig in the summer has culminated in Gomez being demoted to fourth-choice at centre-half.
There is even media speculation linking Gomez with a move away from Anfield this summer.
So this could be the perfect opportunity for the 24-year old to remind Klopp - and show potential future suitors - of what he has to offer.
Lack of alternatives
Alexander-Arnold is Liverpool's only established right-backs in the squad.
Young Neco Williams, who would otherwise have come in for Alexander-Arnold, is currently on loan - and excelling - at Championship leaders Fulham, so is unavailable.
The versatile James Milner, now 36, is an able right-back, but due to his age, he should not be relied upon in that position for a prolonged period.
These next couple of weeks will be massive for Gomez personally if Alexander-Arnold's return is delayed. It is imperative, both for the club and his LFC career, that Gomez performs.
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