James Winstone discusses Emre Can’s slump in form with several variables coming into play.

‘What is wrong with Emre Can?’ A question all fans would love to have the answer to.
The Liverpool midfielder has struggled greatly this season and has failed to impress on a number of occasions. We take a look at how he’s performed, his ongoing issues and what the boss has done about it this season.

His early career

Emre Can moved from Bayer Leverkusen back in 2014 to Liverpool after the then manager Brendan Rodgers met the release clause of £10 million for him. He was fairly highly regarded from his past times at Bayern Munich and Leverkusen and as he was only 20 at the time, the deal looked superb.

Since his arrival, Emre has been thought of as an important player to our midfield in previous seasons with his hold up and defensive play shining above all other qualities.

Under Rodgers, he did struggle to make the impact we thought he would and slowly settled as an ‘average’ player in the Premier League, which was unfortunate due to his great potential. Can has, however, improved under Klopp and many have seen his game change for the better but he still hasn’t made an impact when in the starting XI.

The problems this season

The young German midfielder has had a somewhat poor run of form in the 2016/17 campaign. He has looked sloppy on the ball, misplaced passes and generally not added any quality to the side whatsoever.

The defeat to Bournemouth earlier in the season where he scored a very good goal from outside the box was his last above-average game as he slowly slipped into decline in both his game and ratings from the fans. This season, he has scored only three goals in the 18 times he’s appeared for the Reds and some wonder if that’s a fair amount he has from his position but with Gini Wijnaldum proving he can score goals when needed, maybe it’s time for some rotation which a lot of fans including myself have been begging for since his rapid decline in form.

Emre also had problems with his contract as the manager wanted to make sure his key players wouldn’t be lured away next summer by other large clubs in England and abroad. Due to Can’s wage demands, the contract talks have come to a standstill which led fans to fear Can is unhappy at Liverpool.

The contract talks are a concern and that isn’t the only thing he has had on his mind. The German has also been playing with a slight injury in recent games which was confirmed by the boss when asked about his form. This provides a valid reason as to why he’s been so sluggish but even before that he never really was a standout performer.

His counterpart

During the summer, Jürgen Klopp brought in Dutch ex-Newcastle and PSV captain Georginio Wijnaldum to bolster our midfield after the lack of first team quality showed during our preseason despite our good results. This signing proved an immediate threat to Can as Gini has much better attacking skills and is technically gifted on the ball, which suits the “gegenpressing” style of play well.

The Dutchman has also become a fan favourite after scoring in a couple major games against Manchester City and the goal to get a draw against Chelsea, both in front of the Kop at Anfield. To our surprise, even though Gini has proven to be of better quality then Can and fits the team well, Klopp still persists with Can and some have to wonder whether it’s because the boss still believes in him or it’s just German favouritism, we don’t know.

The verdict

In my opinion, Emre is not a very bad player. He’s shown countless times he’s a loyal and passionate player who loves Liverpool Football Club. He has the ability to grow into a great player but doesn’t seem to know how to unlock it at the moment. He does need to be kept out of the starting XI so he can make way for Gini Wijnaldum who is, on the whole, a better player. Maybe Klopp will soon realise Can isn’t improving at an acceptable rate or maybe he will be firm and continue to pick Can until his run of bad games ends. Surely it can’t go on for much longer, can it?

Follow James on Twitter to discuss Emre Can’s rather disappointing season.

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