By Jay Jaffa
Liverpool’s Jon Flanagan has reiterated the importance and quality of Luis Suarez as well as reaffirming the club’s ambitions of making it into the Champions League as he answered questions from the club’s fans.
The Reds drew 0-0 with Swansea on Sunday afternoon to claim a point at the Liberty Stadium, leaving them in 11th place ahead of a trip to White Hart Lane on Wednesday.
It was the fourth game in 13 in which Liverpool failed to find the net and it was something Flanagan hinted at ahead of the fixture as he discussed the club’s occasionally maligned, star No.7.
“I think we need to score more goals,” he explained as he answered questions supporters sent to Liverpool’s Indonesia Twitter account.
“Suarez is scoring a lot of goals but we need to make sure that if he doesn’t score, there are others who can chip in with goals.
“He’s probably the best player in the Premier League this season and now must be considered one of the best in the world” – Flanagan on Suarez
“He’s probably the best player in the Premier League this season and now must be considered one of the best in the world.
“Just watching him when he trains is exciting and now he seems to be scoring every week.”
Despite the Uruguayan’s excellence and Flanagan’s admiration for him, he maintains the club captain has been his inspiration, adding: “My favourite player now has to be Luis Suarez but as a kid, Steven Gerrard was my hero, just watching him is inspiring.
“It’s brilliant to play alongside Steven. Not just because he was my idol when I was at school but also because he is one of the best players in the world.”
The 19-year-old right-back broke into the first team at the end of the 2010-11 season under Kenny Dalglish and has since played 16 times for the Reds, most recently in the 1-0 loss away to Anzhi Makhachkala, but it was his debut, a 3-0 win over Manchester City that sits neatly in his memory.
“It [my debut] was an amazing experience. It was something I’d dreamed of doing and to pull on the Liverpool shirt at such a young age was something I’ll never forget,” he added.
“It was probably the best moment so far but also winning a Carling Cup medal after we beat Cardiff was a really proud thing to achieve.
“The best thing is being a Liverpool fan as a kid and growing up to actually play for the club you’ve always supported.”
Flanagan’s subsequent integration into the squad allows him to be privy to some of the inner workings of the club as he elaborates: “Pepe Reina is probably the biggest comedian in the squad – he’s very funny.
“Jamie Carragher is another player who always makes me laugh.
“I’ve got quite a few good mates at the club. Myself, Jack Robinson, Martin Kelly, Jonjo Shelvey and Jordan Henderson are all very close.”
Though Flanagan has just 16 appearances since his 2011 debut, he refuses to entertain thoughts of leaving the club, preferring to focus on his education from stalwarts such as Carragher.
“On the pitch, I’ve learn a lot about defending and how to read the game and off it, I’ve learnt a lot about keeping your feet on the ground and staying humble,” he said.
“In terms of players, I think Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have been a big influence but also my dad has always been there to support me.
“I think Glen Johnson is a great role model because he can play on the right and on the left and he’s just as good attacking as he is defending.”
Aside from the full-backs, Flanagan is undecided on who the best defender at the club is, diplomatically adding: “I think you’d have to say Daniel Agger or Martin Skrtel are the two best defenders in the team. I can’t say one is better than the other as they’re both bigger than me and I wouldn’t want to upset them!”
Discussing his ambitions at the club, Flanagan keeps it simple, adding: “I would like to win lots of trophies at Liverpool and play here for a long time but the most important thing for me now is to prove to the manager that I deserve a place in the team.
“I know lots of the songs but I think ‘Fields of Anfield Road’ is probably my favourite song. The fans haven’t got a song for me yet – maybe one day!
“I never want to leave Liverpool but if I did have to go anywhere, I suppose I could just about handle playing for Barcelona or Real Madrid.”
For now though, he will continue to learn his trade under the stewardship of Brendan Rodgers, who he also has positive words for: “I think Brendan has been great since he has come in. Training is very enjoyable and everyone wants to play football the way he wants us to play football.”
And finally, could Liverpool finish in the top four this season? “Why not? All the players believe that top four is achievable. We have to work very hard and win lots of games because it will be tough but it is possible.”
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