Liverpool made three summertime decisions that shaped the right fullback position for the immediate future: the long telegraphed decision to not continue to pay Glen Johnson to hobble around the pitch, the infuriatingly short-sighted decision to cut Javier Manquillo's loan deal short, and the £12m signing of England's best fullback, Nathaniel Clyne.
Needless to say the first decision was met with a collective no duh from most fans. The second was something so egregiously numbskulled that when brought up in casual conversation most Reds fans will still visibly wince and/or curse. From a squad management perspective, letting the promising young Spaniard return to Atletico de Madrid truly puts the poo in the pu pu platter of fullback options currently at Jürgen Klopp's disposal. But for as bad as the Manquillo decision was and is, signing Clyne has truly been an ace, walk off, grandslamdunkdown of a move.
And based on Clyne's comments as he looks to face off against his former teammates in his new Anfield home, things are looking peachy from his perspective, as well. And why wouldn't they? Clyne is the quintessential modern
fivehead fullback: runs for days, establishes width in attack, defense, and the transitional moments between the two. He's happy on the ball and turned on to collective danger as a part of a back line.
He will even pop up from time to time with a reminder that Glen Johnson is not the only English right back capable of cutting inside and having a crack at goal with his weaker left foot. As Liverpool continue to find their feet within the gegenpress, then, it is becoming more and more apparent that Clyne is a tailored fit for Klopp.
Which makes it doubly frustrating that Manquillo is no longer around, as the only thing that looks capable of slowing down Clyne's growing stature in this team is the same thing that sapped Glen Johnson's powers: fatigue.
But don't take our word for it, just look at the breaks: another ninety minutes assured for the Englishman against the Saints, Jon Flanagan about as close to fitness as Daniel Sturridge is, and nothing reassuring coming out of the academy. The reliance on Clyne to play 157% of the minutes at RB isn't something that is going to ebb any time soon. So, bravo for being awesome, Mr. Clyne, now excuse us as we cross all of the fingers.