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Jon Flanagan Finally Healthy, Ready to Contribute to Liverpool Defense

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After Jon Flanagan burst onto the scene for Liverpool in the 2013-14 season and earned a spot as a first team regular, he dealt with knee problems that kept him sidelined for most of the past two years.

He did make eight appearances last season, but said he wasn't "100 percent match fit after so long out" in those games, according to the Echo.

Flanagan is now nearing the level of fitness he wants to reach and hopes his first full pre-season in years will give him an opportunity to regain a place in the team. For the many Reds supporters who grew especially fond of the local player when he broke through, his improved health is a source for great optimism entering the pre-season.

"The knee is perfect," Flanagan said. "I haven't missed a single session so far and it's all good. Hopefully it carries on like that."

In fact, he even showed up to pre-season training early in an effort to "get a bit of a head start."

"This is going to be a big season both for the club and for me personally," Flanagan said. "The extra sessions have got to benefit me. Hopefully I can get super fit and stay like that for the season."

Still just 23, he possesses the ability to serve as important cover for both fullback positions. There was never the expectation that he'd become an all-world star, especially following his knee injuries, but to see him make a full return as a rotational piece is a potential neat development to keep an eye on moving forward.