Liverpool Player Review: Glen Johnson

I mean I knew he was cool, but...

One of the things I love about Liverpool supporters is they rarely, though sometimes, mention what a player cost when they don't like him. That's a bad habit of some of the teams I support here locally, that everything is judged by what that certain player is paid, no matter how effective he might be. The paycheck is always the bar. And if a player did cost a certain amount and doesn't perform, usually the blame goes to the dolt who splashed out that cash. After all, Player X probably didn't hold a gun to anyone's head and demand his transfer and wages be this much. The job pays what it pays. So I don't have to judge Glen Johnson in that fashion, even though he may have cost a stupid amount of money. I say may, because we don't really know what Liverpool paid and what Portsmouth owed and a whole host of other variables. If the number is 17.5, well then that's a bit high, but it doesn't mean that Johnson hasn't been effective. If he were plying his trade here in Chicago, then everyone would hate him.

Positives: You'd have to first say flexibility. While Johnson missed a lot of time with injury, he returned to find Martin Kelly had taken over the right-back role. However, with the injury crisis bearing down and Paul Konchesky being treated like nuclear waste (and playing like it), Johnson flipped over to left-back without complaint and rather seamlessly. When Kelly went down Johnson was able to flip back to his natural spot, and then do that rotation again when John Flanagan needed protecting from the more dangerous wingers of the league. Johnson was also able to play in a back four or as a wing-back when Kenny went for the 3-4-2-1, and on both sides. When Kenny took over he was able to show more of his attacking flair, which is clearly his strength.

Negatives: This isn't as much about Johnson, but how he was handled. When under the puppet show of Roy Hodgson, Johnson was merely a defender. With the midfield buried on top of him and playing so deep, the thing he does well was eliminated. And a Glen Johnson that can't get forward is like a Hemingway without booze. It's what makes his whole game go. Johnson's defending can always be a bit ropey but it's never as bad as some will have you believe. While there were many problems at Liverpool, Johnson is far down the list.

Outlook: This is where things get murky. How much do the Liverpool staff believe in Martin Kelly? I think he's a first 11 player, but do they? If they do, is Johnson a permanent solution on the left? Probably not. And while his swing abilities make him valuable, with Flanagan and perhaps Robinson providing cover for the starting fullbacks, then there may not be any room for Johnson. He can also fetch a still desirable price one would have to imagine, though all the big clubs in the country are more than covered at right-back. He won't fetch over 10 mildo, but 6 or 7 is not out of the question, especially if he's willing to go abroad. Might be worth saving the wages and recouping the cash with the kids that are ready to take over.

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