By Connor Varnish – @cvarn4
As things stand Liverpool sit on top of the Premier League in the midst of some critical festive fixtures, forcing Jurgen Klopp’s hand with rotating his squad to ensure the Reds remain clear leaders over the next few weeks and hopefully beyond.
One man who certainly has benefited from this squad rotation is Nathaniel Clyne, who has seen somewhat of a resurgence to his Liverpool career – when it was looking arguably very bleak just a few weeks ago.
The former English international had become a forgotten man in Jurgen Klopp’s setup since he suffered a back injury last season that saw him miss the vast majority of the campaign. Shrouded with controversy and conjecture as to why Clyne wasn’t available, most figured we had seen the last of him in a Liverpool shirt – even more so halfway through this current season as the Englishman continuously missed out on even being selected for the substitutes bench.
Alas, as the festive fixtures approached, Jurgen Klopp hinted at the return of Clyne, but would he have faith in placing him right back into the starting XI to keep the pace with Liverpool’s league leading defence? Turns out Nathaniel Clyne didn’t skip a beat since we last saw him.
In recent performances, Clyne has delivered exactly what Reds fans came to expect from him at right back – a solid 6 or 7 out of 10 largely down to his dependable defensive abilities. With Clyne missing so much action over the past two seasons many had questions over his future at Liverpool Football Club, and while he has proven himself useful recently, could his time be running out in a Liverpool shirt?
Nathaniel Clyne has a lot to consider when pondering over his short-term footballing career. We know clubs are interested in the Englishman, as Cardiff showed signs of interest back in the summer, and it’s been reported that Fulham are after the services of the right back should he make himself available this January.
Clyne is certainly at a crossroads in his career – Should he stay and provide depth to a title contending Liverpool squad that are capable of challenging on all fronts? Or should he opt for a completely different challenge perhaps with a lower side in the Premier League to ensure he gets game time week in week out?
Jurgen Klopp has shown during his Liverpool tenure that he’s not one to keep players around that aren’t all in on his coaching philosophy. At the same time Klopp may also be keen on the idea of keeping Clyne around at least until the end of the season when Liverpool can get a more suitable replacement for him, or perhaps even allow a youth player to progress through the ranks such as Rafa Camacho.
I’d like to think Nathaniel Clyne would choose the former of the two options he will most likely face. Staying put – at least until the end of the campaign – would be best for all parties in my opinion. Both Liverpool and Nathaniel Clyne stand to gain should Liverpool end the season with some silverware.
Liverpool would continue this season with excellent squad depth, and Nathaniel Clyne could count himself as a Liverpool player who played a part in bringing a Premier League trophy to Anfield among the other potential honours that are on the table this season while also increasing his attractiveness to other clubs.
Of course there is much more to it behind the scenes in the ongoing Nathaniel Clyne saga, but should the right back be forced to consider his Anfield future this upcoming January window, I for one hope that he chooses to remain a viable option for the Reds for at least a few more months to see just how far this Liverpool squad can go.