Jon Flanagan has been given a lot of praise for his performance against Everton in the Merseyside derby, can he now build on this?
Youngster Jon Flanagan has been lauded with plaudits after his Merseyside display at the weekend.
Though it wasn’t the best game for the defences, Flanagan’s display has caught the eye of many after being given only his second start of the season in the absence of Jose Enrique, and ahead of the Reds' natural replacement in that role in Aly Cissokho.
Flanagan initially showed some promise at the end of the 2010/11 season when he was given his first team debut in the Reds 3-0 win over Manchester City. Though the game is remembered for Andy Carroll grabbing a brace in a red shirt, Flanagan also had his moment when he put Mario Balotelii on his backside in an assured display.
For the rest of the season he shone, including in an impressive display against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium – though at the start of the following season he looked a little lost, and he lost his place as a result.
There were some doubts about whether he would make it at Anfield after showing some promise, but Brendan Rodgers has shown he will give his younger players a chance after an apparent loss of faith in the full-back last season. He only played in a Europa League game against Anzhi, and as a substitute in the FA Cup third round win over Mansfield last season.
But he was given an opportunity against Arsenal and didn’t do a lot wrong and Rodgers gave him his chance this weekend with the absence of Jose Enrique.
Flanagan was applauded in the dressing room by his teammates for his performance after the game, his positioning was very good and he timed his challenges well.
Now Jose Enrique is sidelined for up to three months after undergoing surgery on a knee injury and the fixture list getting a bit busier, Flanagan may get more opportunities to impress.
The question is if his performance level is going to fade in the meantime as it has done in the past? Cissokho may get some time in the side but has yet to find the form he would like to have done so far. Between now and February it looks as if Cissokho and Flanagan could fight it out for that position – though the flexibility of the centre-backs in Daniel Agger and Mamadou Sakho will also offer options in that position.
Though Flanagan may have impressed playing out of his natural position, over the next few weeks he has an opportunity to prove himself as a useful member of this Liverpool squad. Hopefully he takes the opportunity.
image: © nathan17