After spending 18-months on the sidelines, Liverpool fullback Jon Flanagan is set to return to full training next week with the Scouse defender set to give Reds boss Jurgen Klopp a timely boost with both cup commitments and the supremely busy festive fixture list yet to come.
The 22-year old looked all ready to make his way back into then boss Brendan Rodgers plans last spring after recovering from knee surgery and coming through a cameo appearance in the Steven Gerrard vs. Jamie Carragher charity match, but a set-back on his road to recovery saw him go under the knife again to repair cartilage in the joint. With the Anfield outfit looking a bit light in their available options on the flanks, rumour has it that Klopp would look to dip into the transfer market in January to add some depth, but he’s not about to sign players just for the sake of it.
“Jon Flanagan will come back in next week, then we will have two left-backs and two right-backs,” explained the Reds boss. “I don’t feel we have to look at other people just because they cost £20 million,” he continued, obviously aware of the deluge of gossip swirling around in the papers and online. “We have four centre-backs when Mama [Sakho] is back – Kolo is the fourth because of his age but now he’s always available.”
Hard working and dedidcated to the cause, Flanagan is exactly the kind of player that you want in the squad and his ability to operate on both flanks will be a major plus. While both Alberto Moreno and Nathaniel Clyne have stepped up their games since Klopp arrived on Merseyside, at this time, that duo is really the only fullbacks that we have that are really ready for first team action. Brad Smith, who had a run out against FC Sion in the Europa League on Thursday, and Connor Randall, who featured against Southampton in the League Cup quarter-final, may have bright futures ahead of them, but neither have the experience that Flanagan can provide.