Jürgen Klopp has reportedly forbade the Liverpool board from selling Merseyside stalwart Jon Flanagan.
The local academy graduate spent most of the past two seasons on the sidelines as he recovered from a horrendous spell of major injuries. Now 23 years old, Flanagan has been informed by the German manager that he will play a part in Liverpool’s upcoming season.
Full back has been a problematic position for the club for years but last summer’s move for Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne has proved to be an incredible bit of business as Liverpool acquired England’s best right back for under £20 million.
Left back was thought to be covered with the signing of Alberto Moreno but the Spaniard has not convinced in a defensive capacity and despite his decent offensive contributions and terrific pace, fans are nearly united in their distaste for Moreno’s play.
Flanagan can fill in on either side and has been dubbed the “Scouse Cafu” – perhaps a bit infamously. The young English full back is not quite as dynamic as the legendary Brazilian was but is a celebrated player none the less.
The Englishman was only 17 when his performances were awarded with a shirt number in the 2010-2011 season. Flanagan was seen as a highly promising prospect among those close to the club and has been compared to club greats Steve Nicol and Jamie Carragher due to his grit and determination in his defensive duties.
Flanagan is solid defensively and reads the game reasonably well considering his age and time spent on the sidelines. His work rate is fantastic and his love for the club oozes through in his play. His aggression is outstanding and he is never too timid to get stuck in on hard challenge to win the ball back for the boys in red. This passionate and staunch mentality to do a bit of dirty work makes Flanagan special and more comparable to English legends as opposed to accomplished Brazilian fullbacks.
His offensive displays leave a little bit more to be desired than his defensive showings. Flanagan’s first touch has not always been convincing and his lack of technical ability compared to most full backs can lead to attacks petering out unnecessarily. His understanding of attacking moments is not as sharp as his defensive awareness, though once Flanagan has the ball settled he is calm in possession and makes decent passes.
Possibly the biggest flaw in Flanagan’s game is his lack of pace. It seems harsh to say since he cannot entirely control it, but the full back can sometimes make rash challenges simply because he was beaten on pace alone. His aggression and commitment is fantastic but his hot head has led to a fair few yellow cards.
Flanagan, with his dedication and commendable attitude that Klopp is surely in love with, may have his shortcomings but he is still capable enough to act as great competition for Clyne and Moreno. If Moreno continues his poor run of form, Flanagan can certainly step up to the plate.
The 23 year old stepped up when Brendan Rodgers’ needed him most in the 2013/14 season. With the full back position plagued by injuries, Flanagan slotted in on either side and put in strong performances filled with defensive gusto and hard work. He was hailed by the club and its staff and became a fan favorite for his displays.
The Scouse Cafu adores the club and now he is reaping the benefits of all his hard work and loyalty. Klopp understands his importance both for competition and for the fan-base and his hard nosed style will aid in Klopp’s fiery training ground sessions.