Why Liverpool's Moreno deal puts the heat on Glen Johnson

Glen Johnson (low quality)

Alberto Moreno's expected move to Liverpool will allow Jon Flanagan to finally move to his natural right side.

Usually, when a club signs a new left-back, the last person to worry is the man plying his trade on the opposite flank.

The centre-backs will have a new full-back to work with, so too the goalkeeper, while those in midfield - particularly on the left - will have to work out how much they need to track back down their side.

In Liverpool's case, however, the expected arrival of new left-back Alberto Moreno may just put the heat on right-back Glen Johnson. The reason? A certain Jon Flanagan.

  AssistsSuccessful dribbles per gameInterceptions per gameAccurate crosses per gameTackles won per gameApps
Glen Johnson 2 1.59 1.72 0.17 1.79 29
Jon Flanagan 1 0.65 1.74 0.09 2.57 23

As Opta data shows, 21-year-old 'Flano' proved a worthy defender for the Reds last season. But Flanagan spent the campaign at left-back alongside Aly Cissokho. Naturally, the youngster is a right-sided defender.

With Moreno linked with the Reds, though, boss Brendan Rodgers will finally have the resources at his disposal to play Flanagan on that right side. Liverpool also have the injured Jose Enrique waiting in the wings should he return to fitness.

Good news for Flanagan, then - but not so for Johnson. Judging by the stats, the 21-year-old could be capable of pushing Johnson for a starting place at right-back, especially from a defensive standpoint.

Going forward, the 29-year-old makes more accurate crosses per game on average and almost a dribble more per game than Flanagan. But the England defender has come in for heavy criticism in recent months for his seeming lack of ability to carry out his primary duty.

That duty, of course, is to defend and, in that department, the youthful Flanagan makes marginally more interceptions per game and more successful tackles.

In short, should Moreno establish himself as Liverpool's first-choice left back, there is no reason at all Johnson will be guaranteed a starting spot for every game of the season. And even if the 29-year-old still gets the nod, Flanagan will be constantly knocking on the door from the bench and in training.

If the Reds do secure Moreno's services, then, the days of Johnson being one of the first names in the line-up will most certainly be over. It will be up to him whether the increased competition ends up benefiting Liverpool, or eventually taking him out of the first-team equation.

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