At just 21 years-old, Emre Can has cemented himself in the Liverpool starting XI through display of great performance after great performance. His excellent diversity and calm demeanor are both rare qualities for a player of his age. A bright future lies ahead.
Upon arrival at Liverpool on July 1st from Bayer Leverkusen, many supporters praised Rodgers for bringing in a “solid signing.” Many called him “one for the future.” Very few could have predicted the impact Emre Can would make at Liverpool in just his first season. A solid preseason showed Emre put in some memorable performances, especially in Charlotte, NC. Not many can forget Emre Can pushing his future teammate Mario Balotelli off the ball with relative ease.
Emre Can did not make his competitive debut for Liverpool until August 25th when he came on as a sub for for Joe Allen in the 75th minute. While on duty with the German U21s, Can saw an injury delay his first start for Liverpool for 6 weeks. On October 19, he made his first ever start for Liverpool FC in a 3-2 win over Queens Park Rangers.
Emre Can has been a huge device in Liverpool’s resurgence of late. The switch Brendan Rodgers made to the back 3, which included placing Emre Can (who most thought was just a midfielder) in a pure defensive role, proved to be one of Brendan’s most brilliant moves as manager of LFC. Emre Can is technically gifted and exceptionally poised on the ball. His ability to get Liverpool pressing forward from the back is truly amazing to watch. During the 2014-15 season, Emre Can has an average WhoScored rating of 7.03 (7.15 in the league) and a Pass Success Percentage of 83.5% to date. This is an amazing stat for a player who just turned 21, and who isn’t even playing his true position.
But it hasn’t been just Emre Can who has benefited from the switch to 3 at the back, it has been the whole of the squad. Suddenly, a team that had been a defensive nightmare had suddenly become an impregnable wall of defensive class. Can’s presence has made Skrtel, Sakho, and Mignolet better and more comfortable as well. Players feed off the confidence of their teammates, whether that is vocally like Gerrard or through pure performance like Emre Can. From top to bottom, Liverpool have re-emerged as a force in the Premier League.
Emre Can’s future likely lies in the midfield, and for very good reason. This is a player who has shown the ability to defend, as well as the quality to create for others and even nick a goal or two. He has shown he can be a true box-to-box player. His calming presence on and off the ball, coupled with his natural skill makes him a very impressive candidate for captaincy at Liverpool in the future. He is also not afraid to stand up for himself, even if it is to some of the best players in the league. Emre Can does not back down to a challenge. If I were a betting man, I’d bet on Can wearing the armband within 5 years.