Jon Flanagan’s return could further limit Glen Johnson’s opportunities…
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Glen Johnson’s Liverpool future is looking steadily bleaker, with the right-back facing a tremendous battle to win back his place in the side’s starting eleven.
The England international, who is in the final year of his contract at Anfield and is yet to be offered a new one, is currently sidelined through an injury sustained during the Reds 3-0 defeat against Manchester City almost two weeks ago.
Since then, he has witnessed young defenders Javier Manquillo and Alberton Moreno both put in excellent performances during a 3-0 victory over Tottenham, and Jose Enrique make his long-awaited return from injury.
With Moreno and Enrique likely to provide options one and two on the left-hand flank, Johnson will face a direct battle with Manquillo and the returning Jon Flanagan for the right-back spot.
Flanagan spent much of last season playing on the left, but is primarily a right sided player, and is likely to feel he has a better chance of winning a place in the team in that position.
Johnson has been heavily criticised for his performances in recent months, both with Liverpool and England, and the 30-year-old now faces an uncertain future that could see him finish his Reds career watching from the stands.
Manager Brendan Rodgers has generally favoured younger players during his time at the club, and prefers to help those young players develop rather than rely on a high percentage of older players.
Flanagan is certainly optimistic about return into the Liverpool fold. He is quoted in the Daily Mail, saying: “I don’t think it will be too long now and I think I should be back after the international break if all goes well.
“It has been frustrating for me but I can’t dwell on it. It was tough to pick up the injury in pre-season but I’ve just got to forget about that now and push on. It’s going to be tough but I’m more determined than ever. It’s a massive season for me and I just can’t wait to get back now.
“There’s a lot more competition for places, which is good for us. The manager has strengthened the squad with the new signings, so I’ve got to continue to work hard and then hopefully get a chance.”
Johnson has been with Liverpool since 2009, when he signed from Portsmouth, but could well be fazed out of the Liverpool team over the next year, before departing in either January or, more likely, the summer.