Where Should Liverpool Play Emre Can?
Liverpool have been heavily criticized for their spending prior to this season.
They were accused of “pulling a Tottenham” by the way they replaced their world class player, Luis Suarez, with a plethora of young talent as opposed to a few top tier players. While it has been pretty clear that these signings have taken a little while to get used to the speed and physicality of the Premier League, a few signings have started to prove their worth.
The name that has been causing quite a buzz on Merseyside as of late has been Emre Can.
Emre Can is a German midfielder/defender that was bought in the summer from Bayer Leverkusen for £9.75 million. That price tag seems like a relatively hefty one, but in this inflated transfer market, it is appearing to be a steal for a 21 year old with so much potential.
He was signed as a midfielder, but has slid seamlessly into the right center back position and has played a key role in cleaning up a defense that was quite terrible at the beginning of the season. The biggest question is where should he play to utilize his tremendous skill set?
With Lucas being out for at least the next month, Can should slip into the defensive midfielder position. This will allow Steven Gerrard to push forward into an attacking role in which he has proven to be more effective in this season. When Steven Gerrard sits deep his movement is limited, and it is often hard for him to get involved in the game.
In these past few games we have seen glimpses of what Can is able to do in that defensive midfielder position. He has a great range of passing and has the ability to make surging runs at the opposing defense. He has also shown a very impressive bit of skill with his brilliant assist to Raheem Sterling in the FA cup replay against Bolton. Liverpool has tried to play Joe Allen in that position, but I don’t think he possesses the qualities needed to play for a team that expects to compete for trophies. He adds very little going forward and gives the ball away far too much.
But if Can is moved into the midfield, then who will take his place at the back?
The answer to that question is also another summer signing, Dejan Lovren. Yes, he started the season very shaky at the back, but so did Skrtel, Sakho, and Mignolet. I think they should give their most expensive defender ever another shot. He has not had a very long run in the side, and that was when Brendan Rodgers didn’t even know his best 11.
Look at how bad Sakho was last year and at the start of this season. He still has times where he gets caught in possession, but he is becoming a fairly reliable center back. Liverpool’s confidence is at a season-high right now, and the only way for Lovren to regain the form he had last year is to be surrounded by confident players. Him playing in the back 3 will allow Can to play in a midfield role that I believe is perfectly suited for his skill set.
Regardless of where Can plays, he has been a bright spot in the team these past few matches. I know it is very early in his career, but he could potentially develop into a player of Michael Ballack’s quality, and that would be a very good thing for Liverpool.