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Emre Can’s season numbers would indicate how important his role has become since he arrived from Bayer Leverkusen last season. The multi-dimensional player has managed to earn a call-up to a very talented German squad. His versatility ensures he brings more assets to the table for any side he represents.
Primarily a midfielder, Brendan Rodgers effectively used him in a three-man backline last season, a decision that significantly helped Liverpool defensively and turn around their fortunes for some time. He has been reinstated in the midfield this season and under Klopp, his role has only grown.
The German has found himself to be an undisputed starter in the midfield this season. The 22-year-old divides opinion in the Liverpool fanbase. Many view him as a future superstar while there are plenty who feel the player is overrated and doesn’t deserve the high plaudit he receives.
He has played almost 3100 minutes of football which at 22, is mighty impressive. The fact that he has been on the pitch that much also has its downside as in recent games, it has been visible that the player needs some break. He is at that age where his game time needs to be managed carefully.
However, the lack of options for Klopp due to injury and otherwise means Can cannot have that luxury. Liverpool’s other options including captain Jordan Henderson and vice-captain James Milner themselves haven’t done enough to warrant a consistent starting spot.
Can might not be producing a lot in terms of output, but as a defensive midfielder, that is not really his job either. What is great is that he acknowledges that he needs to score goals despite what other aspects on the pitch needing more focus.
He said, “I am not calm enough and a bit nervous in front of goal but my first job is not to score goals but I can score more, it is true. But I have to defend as well, organise the middle and close the gaps.”
Performing under the poor form of his teammates
Currently his companions in the midfield aren’t doing a worthy job. Jordan Henderson seems severely burdened by the captaincy and is not producing the kind of performances that made Brendan Rodgers choose him to be Steven Gerrard’s successor. James Milner seems to have aged over the summer and the quality he displayed as a squad player at Manchester City has not been recreated in Liverpool’s midfield. There is absolutely no finesse in the second third of the pitch as far as Liverpool are concerned.
The return of Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge has boosted the team’s attacks but the dearth of character in the centre means the Reds aren’t scoring as many goals as they should. If Can gets more support in the centre, in both defensive and attacking aspects, he will definitely be able to do better and create a bigger impact.
Jurgen Klopp is certainly going to be shipping out a lot of players in the summer as he will look to reshuffle the personnel. A lot of players at the club are surely going to be playing for their futures between now and the end of the season. From club veterans like Lucas Leiva to big money signing Chrisian Benteke.
However, one player who is certain to be a part of Liverpool’s future under Klopp is Emre Can. There is no doubt that the German needs to improve his performances. But there is little doubt that Klopp will be able to maximise the player’s potential, and at 22, Can has a very bright future ahead of him.
Written by Aakriti Mehrotra
Follow Aakriti on Twitter @Aakriti1
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