James Tavernier’s form this season, as we discussed earlier, has been just unbelievable.
The captain is in the zone of his life, achieving levels he and the fans probably never dreamed possible, with only Steven Gerrard previously keeping resolute faith in him come hell or high water.
But it does mean something else:
Nathan Patterson surely has to go out on loan.
The young RB is a fine prospect, a really impressive player who stood out in his few first team cameos – but with Tav in this form, the best Patterson will do this season is two or three outings when Tav might be rested.
The development of the Auchenhowie graduate is being held back because he can’t get close to usurping Tav, as few could, in fairness, and for the sake of his career he has to go out.
Now, you might be thinking that having that depth and quality is essential and part of Gerrard’s ethos, of giving us two top players for each slot.
The problem is Patterson is at a delicate stage of his career where he needs more taste of senior football and more minutes to develop with.
Sitting on the bench being permanent understudy is likely to do him little good.
You then might argue it’s doing the similarly-aged Calum Bassey little harm on the other side – and you’d be right, but the difference there is he plays, and Borna Barisic’s fitness isn’t absolutely perfect.
Patterson is trying to get in minutes in the slot of a player who is never injured and only getting better.
We wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the lad going on a 6-month loan to a Championship team in January, but of course we still need someone who can deputise for the first choice.
It might just be a bit unfair to expect Patterson to do it and basically never play.