Over the course of the dizzying 2013-14 title challenge, Liverpool had no shortage of stand-out performers. Although the potent offense--especially Luis Suarez--first comes to mind, a local lad was turning heads on the opposite end of the pitch with his stout defensive performances and crunching tackles in an otherwise leaky back line. Naturally, I'm talking about Jon Flanagan.
Sadly, just as his star was rising, Flanagan found himself on the trainers' table for the next 18-months with a knee injury. Fowler willing those days are coming to a close, as he is now scheduled to make a mid-December return. The 22-year-old defender has been (understandably) frustrated at the slow progress:
"I'm back running now and hopefully I can push on and get back in the team in a couple of months.
"I've just got to progress and get myself fit, building up my leg strength. [That] is the aim, if all goes well that's the plan.
"Nobody wants to be out injured full stop but for the amount of time I've been out it's been very frustrating."
Despite his injury struggles, Flanagan has been doing his best to support the team, including the latest young Liverpool defender to go down with an injury, Joe Gomez:
"I'm always there supporting the lads, you always want to be playing but you can't be and you've got to give the lads the support.
"I'm devastated for [Gomez], I know what it's like to be in his situation with a long-term injury.
"I spoke to him yesterday and just told him to stay positive and if he ever needs any advice to come and see me, don't hesitate."
And because no player interview can be complete without obligatory Jürgen Klopp quotes, here's Flanagan's thoughts on The Normal One:
"He seems great and I just can't wait to get working with him.
"His enthusiasm [has stood out], he loves the game and he is a winner as we know from Dortmund. Hopefully he can bring that to Liverpool."
Well in, Jon. Good to see you're A) still among the living, and B) nearing a return. We hope to see you bossing the touchline, gegenpressing like a maniac, and Scousing unintelligibly in the very near future.