It seems a very long time ago that Jon Flanagan was playing left-back in a Liverpool side that came so close to winning their first Premier League title.
Since that 2013/14 season, Flanagan has played just nine times in all competitions for Liverpool whilst he also had an unsuccessful loan spell at Burnley.
Now, his Liverpool career is in doubt.
The defender was ordered to carry out 40 hours of unpaid work and given a 12-month community order in court on Wednesday after he admitted to assaulting his girlfriend last month.
Liverpool released a statement saying that he had “severely let down the club” and there are suggestions that his contract could now be terminated.
Many Liverpool fans would probably support that decision but one man that think the club simply can’t sack Flanagan is Joey Barton - his former teammate at Burnley.
The scouser was speaking on talkSPORT and explained in detail why Flanagan should remain at the club.
BARTON ON FLANAGAN
“Luis Suarez bites another professional player, racially abuses another player, is charged and found guilty and is not sacked. Actually they wore T-shirts for him," Barton said.
“Steven Gerrard, club captain, has a fight in Southport, is in court, etc, etc and is not sacked.
“Let’s look at Roberto Firmino recently. Three times over the drink-drive limit, driving a car, which is very, very dangerous and he is not sacked, he is supported by the club.
“To sack Jon Flanagan over a mistake would be down to the fact the boy is not in the first team plans and it is a financial-based commodity decision rather than a football decision because if it is a football decision, it is hypocrisy.”
Some people might think it's a good point - while many other think Flanagan's actions cannot be tolerated. Either way, it's fair to say Barton's comments divided opinion on Twitter. Check out the split reaction.
Some agree with Barton:
But most disagree:
BARTON ON HIS FRIENDSHIP WITH FLANAGAN
Barton went on to explain how he’s a good friend of Flanagan’s and that this incident was definitely out of character.
“I know Jonno, I shared a car in with him, I know his family really well, I have been on holiday with him and, first and foremost, he is a fantastic human being. He is one of the best kids you will ever come across. He is hard-working, professional," Barton added.
“You forget they are young men. Jon is 25 and it is the first mistake he has made. I have never seen Jon in trouble before.
“He has made a grave error of judgement. He messed up. Does that make him a villain, should we ostracise him from the game? Of course not. We have got to help the kid."
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