Leighton Baines vs. Jon Flanagan – Who has been Merseyside’s top LB?

Everton left-back Leighton Baines may have Liverpol’s Jon Flanagan as his direct competition for a place in this summer’s World Cup.

Leighton Baines began the season as one of the favourites for England's left-back spot, while Ashley Cole has fallen down the pecking order.

Southampton's Luke Shaw has emerged as likely contender for the Everton man, but what about his cross city rival, the impressive Liverpool full-back Jon Flanagan as an unlikely contender.

Here's a look at which of the two Premier League stars have had the better season and who deserves to be facing Italy in Manaus on June 14th?

  TeamPosBlocked Cross / appsEffective Clearance / appsInterception Won / appsWon Tackle / appsAccurate Cross / appsWon Contest / appsBig Chance Created / appsFoulsAppsMins
Leighton Baines Everton DF 0.85 2.41 1.00 2.52 1.26 1.15 0.11 21 27 2,390
Jon Flanagan Liverpool DF 0.32 3.37 1.74 2.63 0.11 0.63 0.05 23 19 1,592

As per the table, both left-backs excel in different areas.

With the stats portraying averages per game, Liverpool's 21-year-old left-back excels in defensive aspects. Flanagan makes on average 3.37 effective clearances per game, 2.63 tackles won and 1.74 interceptions - topping Leighton Baines in all three categories.

The Everton left-back, however, produces more blocks per game and is undeniably the more comfortable going forward.

The current England international averages 1.26 accurate crosses per game, 1.15 successful dribbles and creates more big chances on the whole than Liverpool's Jon Flanagan.

Another area where Leighton Baines comes out on top is the number of fouls over a season, being two less than Flanagan despite making eight more appearances which could largely be put down to experience.

Roy Hodgson has got a big call to make this summer, and the opposition could play a huge factor in his decison making whether he'd prefer the attacking intentions of Baines or the more defensively apt Flanagan.

Regardless of who makes it or not, both can take comfort in the fact that Everton and Liverpool have both enjoyed highly successful campaigns and there is still plenty more to come from the talented duo.

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