Jon Flanagan has returned to full training following his long-term injury and is looking to force his way back into the Liverpool starting line-up.
The 22-year-old was a regular in the Reds' title-challenging campaign last season but has missed the whole of this term with a knee injury.
After going under the knife and having a lengthy spell on the sidelines, the academy graduate is now back to 100% fitness and raring to win his place back in Brendan Rodgers' team.
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“I’m 100% now and it is exciting times,” Flanagan told the Liverpool Echo.
“I’m back in training with the lads and feeling great. I can’t rush it. I’ve got to bide my time.
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“I’m obviously not match fit so I’ve just got to keep going and it will all come together nicely I think.
“It has been frustrating. I had a problem with my knee and thought I would be back a lot quicker than I have been.
“I wanted to kick on this year, but unfortunately with the injury I haven’t. My knee is fine now and hopefully I can just push on.
“I’ve always been looking at my game since I’ve been out. The manager has told me to do that and look at what I can improve.
“Brendan has been great. When I see him every day, he is always telling me to keep going and keep fighting and I’ll be back. He has been a massive help as well.
“Watching the game and wanting to be involved is tough for any player. What has got me through it is trying to see the light and get back in the team.“
Impressive Last Season
Flanagan made his debut for his boyhood club against Manchester City in April 2011 under then-manager Kenny Dalglish and impressed Liverpool fans.
The following season, the youngster made a handful more appearances however did not produce what he was capable of and his back pass against Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League almost handed his side defeat.
Flanagan struggled with injury during Rodgers' first season at Anfield however when he gained full-fitness in the 2013/14 season, the Northern Irishman planted faith into the former St. Francis Xavier schoolboy.
He made his first appearance of the term in Liverpool's 3-3 thriller with Everton. Flanagan showed plenty of heart and passion for the side who grew up supporting and was arguably the man of the match.
He continued that fine form for the rest of the term and was a vital member of the Reds' squad who came so close to winning the top-flight title for the first time since 1990 and almost made Roy Hodgson's England World Cup squad.
Despite Flanagan pushing for his place back in the Liverpool team, he faces plenty of competition and may have to change his role.
He is a natural right full-back however Rodgers' new system of three centre-backs means that the England international may have to either become a central defender or a wing-back.
In the summer, Liverpool drafted in no less than three new defenders in Dejan Lovren, Javier Manquillo and Alberto Moreno. Add that to Emre Can, who has impressed playing at the back and it adds even more competition for Flanagan.
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