Nathaniel Clyne has been Liverpool's quiet achiever in defence this season

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When Nathaniel Clyne completed his £12.5 million from Southampton last summer, there was a collective sense of dread among Liverpool fans.

The sentiment was nothing personal against the full-back, but more due to the fact the Reds have raided Southampton many times before and received very little in return for the millions spent.

Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana have often frustrated fans with their performances, whilst Rickie Lambert held very little impact from the substitutes' bench during his short spell at Anfield.


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So in many ways, Clyne had little to beat in terms of expectation when compared to his former teammates.

Alongside goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, the England international has played the most minutes for Liverpool this season, with his only absence coming against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

He is a full-back in the true sense of the word, tracking runners down the flank and making his own surging runs forward when invited to do so, utilising his abundance of pace.

While many of Liverpool's defenders have copped deserved criticism throughout this campaign, Clyne has gone about his business quietly and efficiently.

A fair comparison to make would be with former right-back and the ever-consistent Steve Finnan, who played alongside defensive stalwarts Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyppia and played a vital role in the club's success during the mid-2000s.

Consistency is perhaps the best descriptor of Clyne's debut season on Merseyside, yet it could have all been so different with Manchester United once heavily linked with him.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, the 24-year-old is looking forward to Thursday night's clash with the Red Devils in the Europa League last 16.

Speaking to Liverpool's official website, he said: "I think we owe them from the Premier League games which we probably should have got more out of.

"But now we have time to put things right and make sure we progress through the cup. We definitely need to take it to them, especially in the first leg when we are at home."

Clyne continued to insist fixtures such as against United in Europe are why he joined Liverpool.

"This is why I signed for such a big club to look forward to nights like this, I’m really looking forward to it."

Amidst all the inconsistency at Anfield, Clyne has arguably proved the club's unsung hero and performed to an excellent standard deserving of a place in Roy Hodgson's England squad for this summer's European Championships.

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