As the race for fourth reaches boiling point, Liverpool’s chances have improved over the past few weeks as key players have returned from injury.
Fernando Torres is back doing what he does best: scoring goals and lots of them. Alberto Aquilani is also getting more playing time as he continues his quest to full fitness.
£18million summer signing Glen Johnson is also back in the first team after a knee injury, and was in fine form in the recent victory over Sunderland, providing an assist as well as scoring himself.
Whilst many have questioned his defensive capabilities this season, Johnson’s ability going forward is in no doubt.
It has been the same throughout his career. Who can forget his wonder goal for Portsmouth against Hull last season? And on his weaker foot, too.
Against Sunderland Johnson further demonstrated these attacking skills. He was constantly a driving force for Liverpool, and his crossing was a threat throughout.
Before his season was disrupted by injury, Johnson brought a new dimension to the Liverpool side. On his debut against Tottenham, his penetrating run into the box won a penalty, and he was man of the match in his second game, against Stoke.
When Liverpool drew against Birmingham in November, Johnson was probably the most dangerous Reds player on the pitch.
Coupled with Emiliano Insua, Liverpool have two full-backs who can provide a useful attacking threat. Especially, in Johnson’s case, when he is playing behind Dirk Kuyt, who whilst a solid player, has never been one to go past players out wide like Johnson can.
As the Anfield outfit have struggled to break teams down this season, Johnson’s athleticism and pace could be just the thing they need to edge ahead of the other teams in the race for fourth.
He still needs to work on his defending, but for now, Johnson’s style is exactly what Liverpool need.
Written By Sean Mullan