What does Nathaniel Clyne’s return to fitness mean for Liverpool?

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Melwood training ground
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Dave Davis is not convinced that Nathaniel Clyne’s return to fitness necessarily signals a return to the starting lineup as many might hope.

There have been rumours and speculation but one question all Reds have asked has been answered. Nathanial Clyne joined his Liverpool teammates during their warm weather training camp in Marbella and instantly sent supporter speculation into overdrive.

Jurgen Klopp has plenty of options at right back, but the effect may not be as big as some think.

The German manager has been tactical when discussing the former Southampton full-back’s return: “Clyney needs a little bit of time, that’s true, but [he looks] very good. You can see Clyney is just a really good football player and when he’s fully fit, we will have a comfortable situation in that position.”

The last statement may be the most important.

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Liverpool are at the business end of the season and the only fixtures that remain are crucial Premier and Champions League fixtures. Clyne has out been out for some time and the 26-year-old hasn’t played a game since May last year.

With no Carabao or FA cup fixtures to introduce the England international back into the fold, his action may be limited at best.

The clamour for the player’s return is understandable due to the wider implications it may entail. A centre-back pairing of Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez is high up on many Koppite’s wish-lists for obvious reasons.

Since Gomez’s international Man of the Match debut against Brazil, his progression to the middle seems a natural step for many. The former Charlton defender appears to possess all the attributes to compliment van Dijk and provide the solidity that’s been missing for so long.

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Trent Alexander-Arnold has rotated with Gomez throughout this campaign and may have aspirations of his own now Clyne’s has returned. The West Derby born youngster spent the majority of his time in the youth ranks playing in the middle of the park and it’s a switch many would like to see happen.

The England U21 international already possess arguably the best crossing abilities within the squad and his passing range has been evident for all to see. Since Coutinho’s departure, there’s been a vacancy waiting to be filled in the middle.

Positional changes don’t just happen overnight though and the business end of such a crucial campaign make it even more unlikely. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility, but Klopp’s been clever with his words. When the situation’s ‘comfortable’, you tend not to change anything.

1 COMMENT

  1. I can’t see Clyne ousting TAA. He offers very little going forward and his left leg is just for standing on. He may be better defensively, but the youngster is only getting better. TAA has some way to go though before getting into the midfield. With Kieta coming and probably another, competition will be strong.

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