Have Liverpool found their new permanent left-back?
Jose Enrique's injury should have caused a big problem for Liverpool. With loan signing Aly Cissokho looking a liability, faith was placed in 20-year-old Jon Flanagan.
Flanagan was handed his debut back in 2011 under Kenny Dalglish, but his progression was placed on hold by a combination of injuries and Brendan Rodgers being less sure of his readiness than his predecessor.
Now the defender is showing just how ready he is for a regular run in the first team, and Enrique may well worry for his place.
After seizing his chance to impress in the Merseyside Derby, Flanagan has kicked on, and not only helped Liverpool to clean sheet at White Hart Lane yesterday, but he scored his first ever goal for the club in the 5-0 thrashing of Tottenham.
The tenacious defender put in a near impeccable all-round performance, which was backed up by the stats.
- Flanagan made more tackles than any other Liverpool defender (3)
- Flanagan made more interceptions than any other Liverpool defender (2)
- He completed an impressive 89 per cent of his passes, and scored with his only shot on goal.
The result was also the first clean sheet Flanagan helped Liverpool keep in the six games he has played in the Premier League this season.
Brendan Rodgers singled him out for praise after the match, saying: "He's an incredible young player, he's a wonderful example for any player to stick at it.
"He's a youngster that no-one has asked to take him on loan, apart from one team, and he's just played in the reserves and for the Under 21 team, but it doesn't matter as his attitude every single day of his life is incredible.
"Since he's come into the team at full-back, he hasn't put a foot wrong."
Fans were equally taken with Flanagan's showing and potential, taking to Twitter after the performance to rave about his performance.
Here's the pick of what they had to say:
This is an absolute dream. I am so, so happy for Flanagan. #LFC— Ray Wilson (@theraywilson) December 15, 2013
Couldn't be happier for John Flanagan today ! Epitomises hard work and passion! #LFC— Shane Stafford (@shanestafford93) December 15, 2013
Flanagan has come in, played Arsenal, Everton & Spurs away and pretty much excelled. He's come on so much, delighted he's proving me wrong.— Nick (@merseyboyred) December 15, 2013
Had my doubts about Flanagan but he has played really well this season!— Nathan Johnstone (@_Thee_Answer_) December 15, 2013
How good is it seeing a young Scouse kid scoring his first goal for Liverpool? Buzzing for Flanagan.— Paul Smith Jnr (@PaulSmithJnr) December 15, 2013
And people think Baines is the best Left Back on Merseyside... Flanagan is better than Oviedo & Baines.— Josh (@JoshMiitchy_) December 15, 2013
Flanagan is playing exceptional lately, who needs Enrique?— Δ Myles Riggs Δ (@Myles_RiggS) December 15, 2013
Do we really need to buy a left back this window? Flanagan is playing out if his skin and Enrique will be back. He's not half bad tbh— Aaron Corbyn (@Coorbz) December 15, 2013
image: © helly - b