Liverpool right back Jon Flanagan has been stuck on the sidelines for nearly two years following an edema in the knee suffered during the 2014-15 pre-season. There was a aborted attempt at a return in April of last year, but before he could take part in any competitive football he suffered a setback. Today, the 23-year old has been ruled fit enough to play.
While manager Jürgen Klopp says the 23-year-old isn’t ready to start, the local talent is expected to be able to make the bench against Exeter City on Wednesday evening and he will be targeting a late appearance as a substitute. If he does get the call, it will mark his first appearance for the club since May 11, 2014, when he started against Newcastle United in the league.
"Jon is feeling really good and we’re really happy about this," said the Liverpool manager at his pre-match press conference ahead of the Exeter City replay. "The medical department said he’s not ready for the starting lineup, but if nothing changes he’ll be on the bench. It’s a long time for him and the first step, being back in the dressing room and not wearing a suit."
If Flanagan does make it on, he will probably be one of the oldest players on the pitch for Liverpool, with it expected that Klopp will deploy a very similar side to the one that drew Exeter on the road in the first match. Youngsters like Brad Smith, Ryan Kent, and Cameron Brannagan who all impressed in the first outing will be getting another chance to start, this time at Anfield.
"It’s a big chance for us to show the young boys we trust them," said the manager of his lineup plans for Wednesday. "It’s very important. It’s a real competition against a good team. It’s similar to Germany, they all know how to play football and they’re excited. Anfield is a special place so I’m happy for them. Hopefully we can create an atmosphere and go to the next round.
"The boys who will play tomorrow will be focused. They will see it as a big opportunity and I’m looking forward to watching it."