With reports surfacing recently that Emre Can might be on the verge of signing a new bumper deal at Liverpool, I thought it was about time he got The Shankly Way treatment. Can was signed from German side Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2014 by ex manager Brendan Rodgers. When he was signed he was billed the next Steven Gerrard, a powerful midfield player who loved to run with the ball, tackle and could break up attacks. So you could imagine the excitement amongst Liverpool fans after the signing.
But alas it was not to be for Can, a defensive injury crisis left Can playing in defensive for most of the 2014/2015 season in a defensive trio which also included at times Mamadou Sakho, Mattin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren. Can should his versatility by putting in commanding performances as a make shift centre back. In fact the only time he looked out of place was when Brendan Rodgers had the great idea of playing him at right back, a decision to this day that still baffles me.
Last season though Can really came in to his own. Playing in his preferred centre midfield role Can was arguably Liverpool’s player of the season. His constant want to run forward, break up attacks and his want to score was very Gerrardesque, but for me there are 2 very different players.
While Gerrard was a player who had the ability to change a game on his own, Can doesn’t have this ability yet. He again showed his versatility last season by not letting his performances drop when paired with a number of midfield partners. In fact his level of performance forced other players to up their own game to play at his level.
When Can was injured towards the end of last season I for one was happy – not because he was injured but because there was a possibility that he would be left out of the Germany squad for European Championships in France. In my opinion Can needs a summer off, to relax without having to worry about playing football. After all he hasn’t had a summer off since he has signed with Liverpool. He was part of the Germany U-21 team that performed so well in the U-21 European Championships in the summer of 2015 and along side Tiago Ilori, Can was one of the standout players of the tournament. While he didn’t play many games this summer he still had the intense training regime that comes with European football.
With the addition to Liverpool’s midfield this season of Marko Grujic and Georginio Wijnaldum I truely believe we’ll see the best of Can. In Grujic, Liverpool now have a midfield partner for Can who has the same attributes as him. Can will no longer have to take the role of Liverpool’s engine and play his natural game. And the addition to the midfield of Wijnaldum, Liverpool’s midfield is the strongest since the days of Xabi Alsonso, Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano. So how it’s up to Can to prove his worth and show fans why he has the ability to be one of the worlds greatest midfield players of our generation.
Written by @TheMoanyOne