- Premier League
Flanagan could save me a fortune - Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers has admitted full-back Jon Flanagan could save him a fortune in the transfer market this summer after confirming the 21-year-old will be offered a new Liverpool deal.
Youth-team graduate Flanagan has established himself as a first-team regular in recent months with a series of impressive displays in both full-back positions.
It represents a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for Flanagan, who went 17 months without a Premier League appearance before being called up for the 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on November 2.
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His current contract runs until the summer of 2015, and Rodgers is keen to extend that deal before it enters its final year.
Rodgers even said Flanagan has the talent to follow in the footsteps of Anfield hero Steve Nicol.
"Jon will be given a new contract - no question," Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo. "Come the summer he's got another year so he will definitely be given a new deal.
"He has been outstanding. He reminded me of Steve Nicol against Manchester United on Sunday - a right-footed player on the left side, steady, aggressive, no fear; he's been a revelation, and particularly in the big games.
"It's great when you see a young player develop like that. You can see the confidence he has now. He has made himself an important member of the squad."
Flanagan broke into Liverpool's first team in April 2011, but struggled for form the following season, leading to a long spell out of the team.
His troubles were highlighted during the 2012 documentary Being: Liverpool, in which Rodgers publicly reined in Flanagan's attacking instincts with the put-down: "Stay behind the ball. You're not the one bombing on for fun, Cafu."
Yet his renaissance has led to fans calling him the Scouse Cafu, in honour of the former Brazil and AC Milan full-back.
Asked if Flanagan could negate the need for him to buy a new full-back, Rodgers said: "He could. If he keeps his focus and keeps working well, he can do that," Rodgers said.
"He was only born in '93, he's only very young, but his performance levels are so mature.
"They [United] had to change [Juan] Mata over at the weekend. He booted Mata over to the other side and then [Adnan] Januzaj as well. He's not easily fazed. I think the biggest thing for me has been his temperament, that is one of his attributes."