Three Highly-Rated Stars Who Could Solve Liverpool’s Full-Back Crisis
Glen Johnson has been a solid member of the Liverpool squad since his arrival in 2009, making 129 appearances and establishing himself as one of the strongest right-backs in the Premier League. This season he has, at times, been strong, creating 18 chances in a Liverpool side which is performing well above expectations; his defensive duties, which have often been criticised, have not been neglected either and Johnson has won 63% of his tackles.
However, at 30 years of age, it is apparent that Johnson’s Liverpool career will not last too much longer as the natural way of the world catches up with him. Whilst Jon Flanagan has been revered by many Reds fans this season, it has been argued by some that he is not quite capable of replacing Johnson in the long-term. Consequently, Liverpool will look to bring in a young player who can fill their right-back slot in years to come.
De Sciglio has recently returned to an AC Milan team currently enduring a horrendous season, and his performances both this year and last have convinced many that the Italian will be an extremely bright player in future years. Whilst Milan will doubtless want to keep hold of the 21-year-old, failure to qualify for Europe this season could move him out of the San Siro door and into the arms of Brendan Rodgers at Anfield.
This season, De Sciglio has won 54% of his tackles and is capable of playing on both sides of defence; this versatility makes him an even more enticing name on the list of possible replacements for Johnson, and the 25 clearances which he has made in just seven appearances speaks volumes about his defensive ability.
Southampton’s right-back has long been touted as a target for Liverpool and, when his terrific performances over the last two seasons are taken into consideration, it is easy to see why. Clyne had a magnificent game in Southampton’s victory over the Reds earlier in the 2013-14 and the type of relentless showing demonstrated during his last game, against West Brom, will instantly endear the full-back to Liverpool fans.
Clyne has won 63% of his tackles and completed 55% of his take-ons so far this year, statistics which show that he is strong in both defence and attack. With the modern day full-back required to be competent in both areas, these attributes make Clyne a strong contender to replace Johnson.
Barcelona’s La Masia academy is famed for its ability to perpetually produce brilliant players. The likes of Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Xavi and Andres Iniesta are just four of the innumerable talents which have emerged from the Catalan club’s academy in the last 15 or so years, and Martin Montoya is one of the current crop of youth touted for big things.
Aged 22, Montoya is at the stage in his career where regular game time is extremely valuable and, consequently, Liverpool could be a enticing option to the Spaniard. Defensively he is strong, winning 57% of both his tackles and headers this season in conjunction with 25 clearances in just ten matches. However, attacking talent may be a stumbling block – Montoya has created only two chances and completed a meagre 8/22 take-ons.