Liverpool defender Glen Johnson is enduring a disappointing season with the Reds, and there have been little signs of a turnaround in recent weeks. In the 3-0 away defeat to Manchester United on the weekend, the England international was brought off in the first-half with a groin injury, and it caps what has been a miserable year.
While a regular in the Liverpool starting eleven, Johnson has been below par in his performances. In 2013/14, it was Jon Flanagan who was a regular in Johnson’s preferred right-back position for the majority of the campaign, and this season, it’s been on-loan defender Javi Manquillo taking his place.
Considering Liverpool have also allowed his contract to run down to its last six months, the writing appears to be on the wall for Johnson, and there are odds of 9/4 that he moves to Roma in January. Earlier this month, he admitted there‘s been no real contract on the table with Liverpool, hinting that his time may well be up with the Merseyside outfit.
“I have enjoyed the majority of the six years. I’ve had good times and bad times, but if I haven’t got a contract then I can’t stay. I want to play for a club that wants me – I am not going to go crawling to anybody. The club know where I am and they know the situation. There were minor talks at the end of last season but nothing I could accept or reject,” he said.
The former West Ham, Chelsea and Portsmouth defender was part of the Liverpool side that conceded 50 goals in the Premier League last season, making 29 appearances. Johnson used to be regarded as one of the better attacking fullbacks, but he was dispossessed all too often in 2013/14, while his defensive attributes have considerably diminished – committing the second-most fouls (23) out of Liverpool’s defenders.
Such poor form throughout the campaign, coupled with injury problems, culminated in Johnson losing his place in the England national team to make matters worse. A higher earner in the Liverpool side, the 30-year-old’s performances haven’t come close to justifying such lucrative wages in the last year, which will certainly play a factor with the Reds pondering whether or not to offer him an extension.
Johnson turns 31 in August, and has been below par for well over a year at Liverpool. Rodgers is expected to be given transfer funds to spend in January, and a new right-back will likely be on the menu. Manquillo will return to his parent club in the summer, while there’s little value offering an underperforming and ageing Johnson a new deal , so a younger alternative will be required in the defence.
The No.1 choice will be Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne, who has been outstanding this season for the Saints, but Liverpool will be also desperate for the return of Flanagan (knee). The future of the club doesn’t appear to have Glen Johnson in the picture, and the January window will present Rodgers to replace him with real quality.