Out of proportion – The Sterling and Gomez saga


We begin on Sunday. Liverpool are leading 3-1. Everything is tranquil…

Well, obviously not. The Reds had put on an electrifying display and a matching atmosphere against Manchester City.

One of the Citizens leading players, Raheem Sterling, had been played off the park by his defensive counterparts.

Although the former Anfield man had caused threats throughout the match, the incessant chanting and provoking from the Scouse crowd, which has always been an issue for him on return, contributed to his frustration.

The media hype for the game was unnecessarily gargantuan. A title decider? In November? Sky really need a reality check on that one.

And with Kyle Walker getting involved with Andy Robertson earlier on, as well as seeming ceaseless arguing to no avail with Michael Oliver, the game had set precedent for an emotionally strained environment.

Substitute Joe Gomez enters the fray for the final ten minutes. A good substitution, and the Reds saw out a priceless victory.

But as the former Charlton man dealt with Raheem Sterling (in a footballing context), he did so in another way in a human context.

Photo: Reuters

Sterling squared up to Gomez as you can see. Not to be disrespectful to Sterling, Gomez at 6″2 is eight inches taller, and was definitively told by Jurgen Klopp than he was too muscular.

Was it really a fight he wanted to be picking? Or was it the kettle of frustration coming to boiling point? I expect the latter. An easy explanation.

What isn’t easily explained was the farce of yesterday at England’s training meet-up. Allegedly, Gomez and a few other players were in the canteen, chatting when Sterling arrived.

These are juvenile adults here, young adults, and of course will have a bit of banter. It’s a healthy part of a dressing room and should never be judged harshly. When you bite it becomes more than that though.

Sterling had been on the losing side. He has been through so much in his life to know not to bite. This isn’t racism here – his work with that is commendable. This is purely a joke between teammates if alleged information is to be believed.

Holding a player by the neck, teammate, opponent, former player, whatever, is out of order. Holding a human by the neck is out of order.

Sterling is a role model to Gomez here. He’s collected over 50 caps, won two Premier League titles, and even captained his country.

But people fail to understand, especially in mainstream media, that this happens all the time. This bite from Sterling has allowed all of this to be leaked into the press and to be blown out of proportion – not physically, but by the creation of the issue.


The most tangible thing to come from this for Sterling is that he acknowledged his mistake. It takes a good man to do it.

As a Liverpool fan myself, I am obviously not Sterling’s biggest advocate. Do I like Sterling? No. Do I respect Sterling’s footballing ability? 100%.

For Gomez, he can say nothing ill of how he acted in both situations. He controlled strain with maturity – which is something Gareth Southgate highlighted in his press conference:

“Raheem explained last night that for a brief moment his emotions ran over. It would be correct to say that’s not the same for Joe.

“These things happen in football. We have some excellent senior players who have played a part in bringing everybody together.”

These senior players – in particular Jordan Henderson – acted as senior players should. Peacemaker.

After speaking to both players, the issue was cleared up. A team meeting and an apology later, the issue should be solved. Again though, the media continues to stir things up.

Is this the problem with the England set-up? Are we doomed to fail through the meteoric mass of internal critiques within the media?

Maybe if there wasn’t journalists who care more about the story than the players’ well-being, they could deal with it within the squad and allowing Gareth Southgate to get them focused on Montenegro.

It’s even got to the extent that media cameras are analysing Gomez’s face and a scratch potentially caused by Sterling. They had a scrap. It’s been dealt with. Why has it become the biggest issue of the year when there are far more important to be discussing within the sport.

Overall, I struggle to see the issue. Two young men had a disagreement, and now they can be allowed to learn from it and beat Montenegro on Thursday. Although Sterling won’t be available, he will be an influence from the side-lines and England’s prosperity is far more important than a petty argument.



About Author

Sports Journalism student, streamer at LFC Transfer Room, Anfield Agenda. Liverpool fan with a particular interest in Welsh, Youth, and African football.

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