Could Micah Richards Replace Glen Johnson at Liverpool?

Matt Ladson@mattladsonFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02:  Micah Richards of Manchester City in action during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City and FC Bayern Muenchen at Etihad Stadium on October 2, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was in attendance at Eastlands on Wednesday night to witness a masterclass from Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

The Northern Irishman will have observed Pep Guardiola's team expertly implement the style of play which Rodgers is a proponent of; pressing, possession-based, domination of the game.

"Their work-rate was fantastic" said Rodgers at his pre-Crystal Palace press conference on Thursday afternoon.

Rodgers will have also observed Micah Richards' surprise inclusion at right-back for Man City.

The 25-year-old was starting just his second game of the season under new boss Manuel Pellegrini after being linked with a move to Anfield this summer.

Richards' only previous appearance came in the Capital One Cup match against Wigan last month, having returned from injury. He made just eight appearances last season for City having undergone a knee operation.

According to several reports this summer, Richards has stalled on signing a new contract at City until he knows he is part of Pellegrini's plans, as explained by The Daily Mail.

It's easy to forget that Richards is still relatively young, especially for a defender, having recently turned 25.

Richards progressed through the City youth ranks alongside Daniel Sturridge. He was spotted at Anfield watching the Merseyside derby in May, providing fuel to the fire that Liverpool may be interested in his services.

Micah Richards spotted at Anfield today, although we scouted him it is thought he was there to support his BFF Sturridge rather than #LFC

— LFCspy (@LFCspy) May 5, 2013

Of course, no move materialised—probably due to City's desire to keep the player, as explained by Mark Ogden in The Telegraph:

Despite the injuries that curtailed Richards’ involvement last term, City are determined to secure the services of a player who is highly-regarded within the club following his progression from the youth ranks to the first-team.

City splashed the cash on another defender this summer, with Martin Demichelis arriving from Atletico Madrid (well, Malaga via Atletico) and Richards could struggle to find opportunities at centre-back consequently once the Argentine is fit.

Similarly, with Pablo Zabaleta firmly City's first-choice right-back, Richards could struggle there too.

Next summer, Richards will have one year remaining on his contractthe same as current Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17:  Glen Johnson of Liverpool in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on August 17, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Recent reports on Johnson's contract suggest Liverpool will only offer him a new deal on lower wages. As explained by Chris Bascombe in The Telegraph:

Whether Johnson would be prepared to accept a deal which offered extra years but no salary increase – or even reduced terms – could become a factor.

Could Richards be the perfect replacement for Johnson should the England right-back depart Anfield? Liverpool could look to sell Johnson before his contract expires, while Richards would be available at a good value price.

Daniel Sturridge is different class!

— Micah Richards (@MicahRichards) August 24, 2013

Johnson is clearly a key player for Liverpool, currently evidenced by his current absence through injury. As he approaches his 30th birthday and questions over a new contract emerge, it would only be wise for Liverpool to begin looking at a replacement for the former Portsmouth player.


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