Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has provided a positive update on the fitness of John Flanagan, telling TalkSport that he expects the full-back to be back in the first-team picture “in the near future”.
Flanagan, 22, proved a revelation for Liverpool during the second half of last season after claiming the starting left-back job, making 25 total appearances to earn the praise of fans and the media alike.
The promising defender has been sidelined since injuring his knee during pre-season, however, and has suffered a series of setbacks in recent months in his bid to return to the pitch.
Rodgers explained: "It has been difficult for Jon, because he was brilliant for us last year. He was absolutely superb. It is just unfortunate he has picked up this injury.
"He has been out for a little while. But we're hoping that in time, in the near future, he's going to be back fit and playing because he's a very important young player for us."
With Liverpool moving to add Spanish full-backs Alberto Moreno and Jaiver Manquillo in the summer, and Rodgers experimenting with a new 3-4-3 formation in recent weeks, Flanagan could well face a tough time breaking back into the side upon his eventual return.
Nevertheless, given that his undoubted potential saw him earn a first international cap as part of England’s provisional World Cup squad at the end of last season, he no doubt deserves to be in the conversation for regular minutes if fit.
Furthermore, with Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique linked with Anfield exits in recent months, few should doubt that his long-term future remains with his childhood club.