Emre Can is Liverpool’s beautiful German gift from God sent to dominate the midfield and as of yet we have seen very little due to Brendan Rodgers’ decision to slot him in at right centre back. I know. It’s very disappointing but fear not all may change very soon.
Last season Can arrived from Bayer Leverkusen for £9.75 million and was instantly well liked. According to a study conducted in 2015, ranking the young players in Europe and assigning them a value, Can was 15th with a price tag of €17 million. When interviewed on the criminally awful LFCTV on how to speak “lad” his replies were perfect.
Early in the campaign Can he appeared sporadically in holding midfield. This is his preferred position and the position which initially drew interest from Liverpool. It was instantly clear that his future would be bright with his physicality allowing him to adapt to the Premier League immediately.
His range of passing is good but his driving runs from deep are what make him stand out. While Reds’ fans have been deprived of this pleasure I watched Can during his time at Leverkusen and his powerful surges from deep are great for putting the team on the attack. His appearances as a midfield were kept to a minimum with the most memorable being against Chelsea in which he scored via a deflection.
Perhaps the biggest crime in Can’s Liverpool career so far is the reason for which he has been excluded. You wouldn’t argue against Jordan Henderson being played each game given his quality and leadership qualities. Question marks surround why Brazilian Lucas Leiva was selected in place of the German. He did go through a particularly purple patch in which he was virtually unstoppable before he got injured. Again. I do feel terribly for the guy. He was on the brink of being a first class defensive midfielder before he got injured in 2011.
The crime comes in where Joe Allen comes in. He’s just not very good is he? As a good Premier League defensive midfielder you should be strong and reliable. Allen is neither. Below is a clip of what has stood in Can’s way. It makes me weep.
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We were treated to delightful glimpses of Can’s talent as a midfielder and how creative he can be. Such a glimpse came in the FA Cup away to Bolton Wanderers when he assisted the winner the with a delightful lob. Most of the credit when to Sterling for finishing from Can’s delicate pass.
The 2015/2015 season presents a golden opportunity for many players to make their mark on the team. The same applies to Can and the opportunity is twofold as Joe Allen (hehe) is set to miss up to four weeks with a hamstring injury picked up at Swindon Town. If the German asserts himself on Rodgers before Allen returns it will go a long way to setting himself up to spend the season in midfield. That is, if he is unnecessarily shunted in at right back again.
I cannot think of a possible midfield combination which accommodates captain Jordan Henderson and James Milner – who has been assured regular first team football – without James Milner. Neither Englishmen are either defensive minded or out-and out holding midfielders. That being said Can isn’t either but at least he provides more protection for the back four while balancing attack.
In five days we will know what Brendan Rodgers is thinking and will probably freak out. Don’t even get me started on Dejan Lovren.