Jon Flanagan has revealed he's excited to get back to action this month and is relishing the chance to win back his place in the Liverpool team.
The defender was a key member of the Reds' almost title-winning effort last season and made 23 Premier League appearances over the course of the year. However, the 22-year-old is yet to play a single minute of football this campaign after
Picking up a knee injury early in the season and spent all of his time trying to regain full fitness. Over the summer, manager Brendan Rodgers drafted in full-backs Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquillo to Anfield to strengthen the Liverpool defence.
Despite there being strong competition in his specialist field, Flanagan has no fears
of winning his place back in his boyhood club’s starting XI in a month's time.
“When I saw that we signed two full-backs, I immediately thought ‘I need to up my game now’,” he told Liverpool FC magazine.
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“I know I need to consistently do well if I’m to get in the team and then stay there.
“I want to keep developing as a footballer. That’s why not being available has been so frustrating. But competition for places doesn’t bother me. I’m always up for the fight.
“It’s great to hear that the fans haven’t forgotten me.
“When you hear that, you know people are rooting for you and want to see you back playing again. It gives me even more motivation to recover and get back out on the pitch as soon as possible.
"When you hear that, you know people are rooting for you and want to see you back playing again. It gives me even more motivation to recover and get back out on the pitch as soon as possible"
“I’ve been out for what has felt like a really long time. It’s been very frustrating. When the rest of the lads have been travelling to away games, I’ve been in having treatment or doing rehab work.
“That is one of the downsides of football that people don’t see. You’re out of routine because you are used to training and playing, being around the squad and having a laugh on a daily basis.
“Once you are injured, your schedule changes completely. You have to rest on different days and work on other areas – it’s not nice butit has to be done and will be worth all the effort in the end.
“I’ve got in the team before and kept my place. Now I need to do that again.”
There's no doubt that the return of the academy graduate will be sweet music to Kopites' ears. For the latter part of last season, Flanagan was a regular in Rodgers's side, commanding either the role of right or left-back and put in a bagful of top performances.
This season, problems at the back have remained for the five-time European Cup winners. Liverpool have conceded 27 goals in the top flight and could potentially top their dreadful tally of 50 last term.
With Steven Gerrard leaving the club for LA Galaxy at the end of the season, there would not be one Liverpool-native in the side next season if it wasn't for Flanagan. Although as big an honour it is to be playing for the Reds, it does not compare to how much it means to a born-and-bred Scouser.
Flanagan established himself in the team last when he got a surprising call-up to play against Everton at Goodison Park. You could see his passion throughout the game, giving 110 percent to win the ball in tackles that could have potentially gave him a nasty injury.
After 3-3 draw, Flanagan was hailed by Gerrard for his performance, who compared him to Anfield legend, Jamie Carragher.
However, it will be an uphill task for him to regain his regular place in the Liverpool side. With Moreno and Manquillo joining in the summer, as well as Jose Enrique gaining full-fitness having missed most of last season, there is plenty of competition.