Glen Johnson excited about Liverpool return

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Liverpool defender Glen Johnson is hoping that he can make a real impact for his side upon his return to full fitness and regain his place in Brendan Rodgers' starting XI.

The former Chelsea full-back limbed off during Liverpool's 3-1 away defeat to Manchester City some six weeks ago and has been on the sidelines since.

However, the 30-year-old made his return in the 2-1 victory against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, replacing Javier Manquillo on the right hand side of defence with 35 minutes remaining. 

Now, Johnson wants to build from that start and plans on aiding his side to climb up the Premier League table.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Johnson said:  It was not the best performance you will ever see against West Brom but we got the job done.

“That’s what it takes sometimes to set you off on a good run.

“It’s been frustrating for me as no player wants to be injured. I feel good and it’s about match fitness now. The body feels good so I just need to get some training sessions and I can take it from there.

“It’s been frustrating to watch because you want to be out there with the lads, and you want to be out there even more when it is not going too well.

“The most important thing for me was getting fit and hoping the lads could pull us through while I was not able to help.

“It is difficult when you have bad periods but that’s football. It was always going to be a difficult start with all the changes and all the expectation but in football you have these ups and downs.”

Tough competition

The right-back returns from the sickroom with plenty of stiff competition around him.

Javier Manquillo, who joined on loan from Atletico Madrid this summer, has occupied Johnson's role for the time being. The Spaniard has settled well into the position, looking solid when defending and has also got forwards very well.

Another who poses a threat is Jon Flanagan. The youngster spent most of last season playing on the left-hand-side of defence, however he impressed so much that he will be seriously pushing for a place on his natural right-side when he returns from injury in November.

In the past, Johnson has previously slotted into left-back, yet that is a role filled at the minute. £12 million signing Alberto Moreno has very much made it his own thus far this term and the return of Jose Enrique also makes it difficult for the England International.

Missed by the Reds?

One could argue, however, that Liverpool have missed Johnson.

He is one of the best right-backs in the world when going forward and he really offers a lot. No matter when Liverpool are on the attack, Johnson always offers his services and proves a huge threat to the oppositions defence.

Contract issues

It is well documented that Johnson is out of contract with the club his signed for in 2009. Despite their being no negotiations with Brendan Rodgers and co, the defender is still hoping a new deal is offered to him.

“It’s very quiet," Johnson commented on current contract talk.

"I am just concentrating week by week and not thinking about it.

“Of course I want to stay. But like I say I just worry about this week, this week and then worry about next week, next week. That is how I live my life.”

Contract unlikely

It seems that a contract for Johnson is looking frequently unlikely. 

Liverpool have been busy renewing players' deals in recent weeks. Daniel Sturridge inked a five year contract to stay on Merseyside and the Reds are also holding talks with Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson at the minute along with rival John Flanagan.

Considering the former Portsmouth man's deal runs out before any of those, one can only believe that Liverpool are looking to offload his high wages rumoured to be in the region of £120,000-a-week.

With cover already at right-back, it seems he is not needed at Anfield. Johnson has been out of form during the past six months at Liverpool. If you stand on the Kop on a Saturday afternoon, their is a general consensus that he is no longer good enough to play for the club.

Johnson had always had issues when defending, however those problems have developed further recently. He never seems to want to commit to tackled outside the box and lays off far too often which gives difficulties to goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, as a shot is far too easy on goal when the England defender doesn't get tight.

With Javier Manquillo signing a two-year loan deal, it suggests he is firmly in Rodgers' plans for next season. It is a rarity that players do sign on loan for more than a season and therefore he is wanted by the Northern Irishman.

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