Liverpool fans would be forgiven for forgetting that Jon Flanagan is still at the club. 630 days have passed since the tough-tackling right-back last played a competitive fixture for them, but his long-awaited return from a serious knee injury is on the horizon.
Now 23, Flanagan is in contention to play in Liverpool's third-round replay against Exeter City on Wednesday night. He has been training with the Under-21s for the past month and has made three appearances for them in that time.
Should he play against the League One outfit, not only will it represent his first competitive appearance since 2014, but it will also be the end of a nightmare that, at one point, threatened to cut a promising career short.
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So much has changed since that day. Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard have both left and Jurgen Klopp is in charge. But while the landscape at Anfield has altered significantly, the former captain, now of LA Galaxy, is clearly still thinking about his former team-mate.
Gerrard used his Instagram following to make everyone aware of what a momentous time it will be for both Flanagan and Liverpool if he does return against Exeter. Attaching an emotional tribute, it inspired 70,000 likes in just two hours.
It read: "So happy to see this fella close to returning to fitness . . He has put so much graft in to get himself back fit . I'm sure anfield will erupt when he runs back onto the pitch after a 18 month lay off ...good luck mate great to see you back and we have missed you 👍#cafu"
And here it is:
An uncertain future
Despite his obvious high-standing with Gerrard, the fact remains that Flanagan still has a fight on his hands to save his Liverpool future. While he is likely to be part of Klopp's plans for the time being, his contract is set to expire at the end of the season.
Having missed 18 months of action, he will have to prove to the German that he is still capable of playing at the highest level. If he plays the way he did before his injury, that should not be a problem, but football is never that easy.
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