Is there a left-back problem to solve at Liverpool?
Also don’t be surprised to see young John Flanagan deployed as a LB at times this season. He started at LB against Guangdong United and featured as a LB against Valerenga and looked just as good as he does as a RB. Many will agree that Flanagan’s greatest assets are his defensive maturity, tactical awareness, biting challenges and his control in possession. So he could quite easily be deployed as a LB, with the LB being expected to get forward less if Downing is bombing down that flank.
Personally I don’t believe it is necessary to buy a new full-back, I would rather spend any funds on a winger or more pressingly a CB; whilst on the subject I believe Cahill would be a fantastic option.
I believe the players I mentioned above will be able to cover the position until Jack Robinson is able to take up the task. For me Robinson is one of the brightest Academy graduates in recent history and will one day become a Liverpool and England regular. His step up may not be as long away as you might think either, he has been involved in every pre-season game for the first-team this season, and given his fantastic performance against Arsenal at the Emirates and the fact that he is the youngest player ever to have played for the club, when he was 16 years and 250 days old, could show a maturity beyond his years.
Another reason why I wouldn’t splash out on a new LB would be the current lack-of quality in this position in the market. Most recently we have been linked with Enrique, some reporters already suggesting a fee has been agreed between Liverpool and Newcastle. I must be honest in that I don’t rate Enrique very highly, he is useful going forward but is very often caught out at the back. When Newcastle came to Anfield I made a point of monitoring his individual performance and I was disappointed, as he was nothing compared to our full-backs of the day: Flannagan and Johnson. Players we have been linked to such as Bridge, Warnock, Cissokho and Perreria wouldn’t succeed for a variety of reasons, and would not be an improvement on what we currently have.
The only LB I would be interested in realistically, if he entered the market, would be Baines, but I can’t see Everton letting him go for anything under £20 million, seemingly out of our price range unless FSG decide to break the bank again. So unless a quality, proven LB enters the market I would prefer to stick with our current situation and wait until Robinson is ready to make the first team.
You can read more from Oscar by visiting his blog http://redsnevertire.blogspot.com/ or on twitter @OscWilliams