Why this 4-assist Liverpool linked defender isn't the answer for Brendan Rodgers

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Liverpool have been linked with a move for right-back Ignazio Abate, but the AC Milan man isn’t the solution necessary at Anfield.

The end of the Glen Johnson era at Liverpool appears to be drawing near, and for some fans his departure would bring about a sigh of relief.

Johnson is a man who has split opinion among the Anfield faithful of late with his performances, with some sections of the Reds support seeing the need for him to go.

At any rate, his time seems to be almost up on Merseyside. The 30-year-old’s contract is set to expire next summer and he’s reportedly not inclined to take a significant pay cut to stay.

Liverpool’s right-back of the future looks already looks to be on the books in Javi Manquillo, who was brought in on a two-year loan from Atletico Madrid over the summer.

But just six games into his Reds career, the jury is still out on Manquillo. He has done well thus far, but another option would certainly needed in Johnson’s absence to help bring him along.

According to the Mirror, that man could be Milan’s Ignazio Abate. Like Johnson, the Rossoneri right-back’s current terms are set to run out come summer, with a new deal not in sight.

Despite Abate’s declaration on Thursday that he would like to see out his career with Milan, an exit remains a possibility without a new deal on the table from his employers.

Liverpool, however, would be wise to steer clear of the 27-year-old. For all his valuable experience at the top level both domestically and internationally, he’s not exactly what Brendan Rodgers and company need at the moment.

In his advancing years, the greatest criticism against Johnson is that he is lacking on the defensive front, leaving massive gaps in behind when he gets forward.

Milan and Italy fans would say much the same about Abate. He’s renowned for his lightning pace and ability to get to the byline, but is substandard at the other end of the pitch.

Even in attack, however, Abate is a streaky crosser at best. Surprisingly, he’s bagged four assists already in Serie A this term. More indicative of his true in this area are the two total assists to his name over the course of the two previous campaigns.

The crux of the matter is that Abate would offer Liverpool very much the same frustrations that they’ve encountered with an ageing Johnson – a lack of balance.

For Manquillo to develop properly, he needs a veteran to compete with for minutes who can offer a steady presence on the pitch when called upon.

Defending is the well-known weakness of Rodgers’ Liverpool side and Abate would not be any sort of a solution to that problem – instead just maintaining the current status quo.

Abate certainly has the right pedigree to play for a club the likes of Liverpool, but the Reds wouldn’t be accomplishing what they need to in signing him as a replacement for Johnson.

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