By 90Min
July 16, 2019

At a sun-soaked Prenton Park last week, Jurgen Klopp reaffirmed that this current transfer window is not going to be all that blockbuster for Liverpool. 

The German, flanked by a cohort of grinning fans, was inevitably fending off questions on new arrivals. His comments about utilising Rhian Brewster and embracing the return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain suggests that the club will likely turn inwards, rather than navigate the white waters of the current transfer market. 

One area in particular, that some have highlighted for reinforcements is at full back. Fresh from Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold's heroic exploits of 2018/19, there are quite logical calls from the fans to add cover for the left and right back berths to avoid burning out that talented and crucial duo. 

However a closer look at the depth in Liverpool's current ranks throws up something of a forgotten man at Anfield. Nathaniel Clyne is still very much a Red. 

Fall From Grace 

The right back has endured a rapid fall at Liverpool over the past two seasons, culminating in a loan spell at Bournemouth in January.

Fitness issues and the inevitable rise in standards under Jurgen Klopp have seen the full back's career stall since 2017. And yet, when called upon to pull his weight, the former Crystal Palace man has seldom let anyone down. 

Keeping him at Anfield this summer makes a whole lot of sense for Liverpool as they look to balance their squad.

Minimum Amount of Fuss

While some will point to the future and the need to invest in fresh talent, Liverpool could do a lot worse than build bridges with their former first-team regular.

When it comes to passing judgement on Clyne, it has been largely forgotten that his £12.5m arrival from Southampton was seen as one of the rare bits of good craftsmanship by the then ridiculed transfer committee.  

Stu Forster/GettyImages

Clyne was a pleasant tonic for Glen Johnson's error prone stewardship at right back. By contrast to his erratic predecessor, he offered you an assured, calm reading of the game, snuffing out any potential situations before they became a real issue. 

During his two full seasons as a first team regular, Clyne clocked up an impressive 95 Premier League interceptions and enjoyed a minimum tackle success rate of 75%. 

He did his job with reliability and with a minimum amount of fuss or flair. Therein lay the issue though for Mr Clyne. 

Reliable, Dependable, Boring

It would be fair to say that Clyne is a victim of the modern Premier League age. Full backs where previously seen as a dull necessity. Jamie Carragher once famously said on-air, that you were either a failed centre back or a failed winger if you ended up playing there.  

However in the explosive modern game of Klopp's heavy metal counter press and Pep Guardiola's possession carousel, full backs have become rock stars. 

Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

At Liverpool especially, Clyne's successor, Alexander-Arnold is arguably as important to his team's attacking play as anyone else. His tally of 12 Premier League assists last season was a league record for a defender, such is his potency and consistency in creating chances from the flank. 

By contrast to those astonishing numbers, Clyne has registered just 10 assists in 185 premier League matches. In an age of overlapping, white-hot, pacey full backs, Clyne is seen as rather archaic. 

While it is hard to dispute that he is a reliable and dependable defender, for some ultimately, he is a bit boring and far too limited going forward. 

Common Sense

In Clyne though, Liverpool have a solid defensive option and a player who has clocked up over 350 career appearances to a high, professional standard. 

While there is excited talk of the emerging teenager Ki-Jana Hoever making a breakthrough, it would surely represent less of a gamble, more a demonstration of good common sense, to opt for Clyne's experienced and adequate services this season. 

Michael Regan/GettyImages

Being able to select a player with Clyne's experience to come in a share the load, should be something for Liverpool fans to celebrate. His presence may also keep Alexander-Arnold on his toes and stave off any potential for complacency creeping in for the supremely gifted youngster. 

When it comes to pondering whether the 28-year-old had a future, Klopp could do a lot worse, than recalling his thumping 3-1 victory over Manchester United last December. 

Clyne was selected late on in the build up to that match due to injuries elsewhere. Making his first Premier League start of the season, he did what he does best - slotting in on the right with no drama, he was reliable and completely dependable and the end result was very far from boring. 

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