Jon Flanagan excels in first Premier League start in nearly two years

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Football News

Jon Flanagan is unlikely to be regarded as the best defender in the league, he may not even be the best at Liverpool, but when it comes to heart and effort, there are few better.

Flanagan was the local face of Liverpool's title push two years ago. He developed such a following that he was dubbed the "Scouse Cafu" among fans.

The 23-year-old, who grew up just 200 metres from Anfield, suffered a knee injury which kept him on the sidelines for all of the 2014/15 season. It was a cruel blow for the fullback who also made his England debut in two years ago.


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This season he has taken big steps to a complete recovery, playing games in both Cup competitions. His next hurdle to clear was an appearance in the Premier League.

That finally came in the home clash against Man City on Wednesday, where he replaced Alberto Moreno. A player who has been public enemy number one in many Liverpool fans' eyes this season and for good reason, his inability to do the one thing he is picked to do - defend.

Flanagan is considered as an old-fashioned, no-nonsense defender - a rare breed in the modern game. He sticks to his opposite winger like glue, as ex-teammate Raheem Sterling found out.

He put in two crunching tackles on the £49 million man in the first 20 minutes, which sent the crowd and his captain Jordan Henderson into raptures. Sterling was subsequently subbed at half time by Manuel Pellegrini, giving Flanagan a major scalp in his first game back.

Henderson, who was shown applauding one of the tackles is a big fan of Flanagan and he has urged the club to hand him a new contract, as his current deal runs out at the end of this season. If it is down to Reds manager Jurgen Klopp, he will be around the club for a while yet.

"After 20-something months out he played so smart and so clever. In the first half he showed his opponent (Sterling) that maybe we were friends a few months ago but not for tonight," Klopp said after the game.

Reds fans will be hoping that Flanagan can stay fit and become a regular fixture in the defence for many seasons to come.

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Steven Gerrard
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