Ex-Liverpool centre-back Jamie Carragher has joined those calling for Jon Flanagan to receive a new contract, with his current deal set to expire this summer.
Flanagan could leave the club for free at the end of the season, but having returned to Jurgen Klopp’s first-team setup after 20 months out with a knee injury, a number of high-profile names have appealed for the right-back’s terms to be extended.
Both Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana are among those that wish to see Flanagan remain on Merseyside, and speaking on Sky Sports on Sunday, Carragher joined that number.
“He shouldn’t get a contract because he’s a local lad,” Carragher said, with Henderson and Lallana both using Flanagan’s close ties with the club as a factor behind their reasoning.
“He should get a contract because he is a good player. The local lad thing is a bonus.
“You can see he is a Liverpool academy player. I am delighted he is back and playing.
“The big disappointment for the supporters and Jurgen Klopp is that they have not included him in their Europa League squad so he won’t be able to face Manchester United.”
As Carragher mentions, Flanagan is unable to feature against United in either leg of Liverpool’s Europa League round-of-16 tie.
But having shown signs of fatigue in Sunday’s 2-1 victory away to Crystal Palace, the 23-year-old could be in need of a rest; he remains in the latter stages of his recovery.
One player who could be pushing for a starting berth against United on Thursday night after a positive display at Selhurst Park, however, is Christian Benteke.
The Belgian came off the bench to win a late penalty after being fouled by Damien Delaney, and in successfully converting the spot-kick to ensure victory for the Reds, caught Carragher’s eye.
“I am pleased for him to get the winning goal,” he continued.
“[He’s] a big-money signing and it has not quite worked out for him, but he is someone I look at and think he has had, not so much a raw deal, but you sort of fear for him at times.
“He has played [Divock] Origi at times and brought him on as a sub, it is like he has become the fourth-choice striker having come in as the number one with [Daniel] Sturridge maybe out injured.
“He has never gone to the press and complained every time he comes on and he just said in his interview then that you have to be ready when the manager asks for you.”
Carragher praised Benteke’s approach to a lengthy spell on the substitutes’ bench, with Klopp preferring to field Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge up front.
The 25-year-old himself promised to “fight until the end” to earn his starting role back, and he could be given the opportunity on Thursday night.
CRYSTAL PALACE 1-2 LIVERPOOL
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