After years toiling on the fringes of the first team, Jon Flanagan surprised Liverpool fans everywhere with a starring turn in the club's 2013-14 title challenge. Then injury struck. A seemingly innocuous collision during pre-season in the summer of 2014 followed by a string of setbacks and complications has kept him sidelined ever since.
At times Flanagan perpetually seems one to two months away from a return only for the day he's supposed to be back out on the pitch to arrive along with news that he's expected to be back in another month or maybe two. More than Daniel Sturridge even, Flanagan's never-ending knee injury has now become something of a bitter joke for the club's fans.
Currently, he's expected back in one to two months. In time, perhaps, to take part in the action again come the new year. It's the same situation he found himself in at this point last season. Flanagan, though, has taken to Instagram and dropped a hint that this time around he might just be a little bit ahead of schedule. That this time around might be different.
Given Liverpool are down to two fit senior fullbacks and Flanagan is comfortable filling in on either side of the pitch that would be great news not just for the player, who has spent more than a year on the sidelines, but for the club as well. Or course, given what's happened every other time Flanagan has neared a return, it would seem wise not to expect too much.
Still, fingers crossed that this time around it's different. And that when he does return—if he does return—a year and a half on the sidelines hasn't set back his development to the point he no longer has a first team future at the club.