Liverpool defender back to his best?

Glen Johnson

The Liverpool right-back has endured a frustrating campaign with injuries and poor form but his performance against Cardiff was a reminder that that he still has a lot to offer.

The noises for Glen Johnson's departure from Liverpool fans have been increasingly vocal over the last 18 months. Fast approaching the end of his contract and thirty years of age, the England international could be forgiven for having private doubts about his future.

Those voices have been somewhat silenced of late however after it was revealed that Johnson's poor form this season was due to two niggling injuries and not, as was rumored, down to discontent at the lack of a fresh new bumper contract.

The former Chelsea player is now clear of those injuries and it would appear to be showing. Johnson, to put it simply, was fantastic against Cardiff on Saturday.

It was as if he had returned to his younger self, the one that made Liverpool part with £18m for his services. Bombarding down the flank, terrorizing the opposition full-back, Johnson was a constant thorn in Cardiff's side.

A willing runner, his runs were well timed which offered Jordan Henderson an outlet on the right, and indeed it was this combination that saw Liverpool equalize the first time round.

That perfect cross for Luis Suarez spoke of a player on the up. Johnson is playing with confidence again, in the knowledge that he is free from injury and therefore able to play with freedom again.

The Liverpool number two has always had the licence to get forward under manager Brendan Rodgers and feeling fitter than ever, he was able to express himself, more than at any other point this season, against Cardiff.

At his full-flowing best Johnson is Liverpool's best attacking full-back. Question marks against his defending will continue, but at least he is making a contribution in the final-third.

That will be crucial in Liverpool's last eight Premier League games, especially those at Anfield, where teams will come to sit back.

A run from full-back can offer the option of a penetrating pass which can open up a packed defence, and with Johnson to collect the ball, expect a smart pull back for an onrushing Suarez or Daniel Sturridge.

That could well be the difference between three points or just the one. In a season where Liverpool are genuinely competing for the Premier League, on such margins and in such circumstances, Liverpool will need Johnson.

Only then can he truly prove that he may have been written off far too soon.

Is Glen Johnson back to his best and does his long-term future lie with Liverpool?

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