After nearly two years spent on the sidelines, local fullback Jon Flanagan needed to prove to the club that he still had what it takes to play top flight football in order to earn himself a new deal. Over the past few weeks he’s done just that, and as a result the club are reportedly prepared to hand him a new contract.
According to the Liverpool Echo, Flanagan is expected to sign the deal before the weekend, one that will keep him at Anfield at least through the summer of 2019. The tenacious 23-year-old is a firm favourite amongst fans, but having barely cracked the first team when he fell injured two seasons ago, the club wanted to hold off on a new deal until he could prove his fitness.
He won’t be expected to start every week, but an ability to fill in on either side of the pitch makes Flanagan an invaluable rotation option, allowing the club to back up two positions with one player—which should also mean he will see a decent number of minutes. Flanagan returned to action on the 20th of January against Exeter and has made four appearances this season.
In total, the young Scouser has made 45 first team appearances for his boyhood club since he first played for the senior side in 2010-11. Most of those appearances, though, came in the 2013-14 season, when he broke into the first team half way through the season and made 25 appearances across all competitions. Injury kept him out of the 2014-15 season entirely.
Flanagan has scored once for the club, a memorable volley during a 5-0 demolition of Tottenham hotspur in December of 2013 that signalled his arrival as a first team regular during the Reds’ unlikely title push. If he can now return to the form he showed that year, his presence in the squad will be invaluable for Jürgen Klopp moving forward.