Any good gardener knows, plants do not become trees out of the blue. They need to be nurtured and taken care off, they need to be given the right nutrients and with some care, it does grow into something bigger and better, fulfilling its potential. The same can be said about Liverpool’s transfer policy over the years with more emphasis on signing saplings rather than full grown trees.
Youth over experience is never a good thing in this day and age of football, unless of course you are considered as one of the top talents in the world, like Raheem Sterling or Varane but the Liverpool way of things does help unearth gems from the rather rough mines of scouting players.
Lazar Markovic, Emre Can, Albrerto Moreno and Javier Manquillo are all around the 20-22 year old mark which makes them players who can learn, grow and become better in their time at Liverpool, they seem to have been bought for their potential rather than their current ability and while most of them have started to do better in this little unbeaten run that Liverpool have stitched together, one player has stood out, head and shoulders above the rest.
The German wall
Emre Can was considered as the front runner to take over Steven Gerrard’s shoes in the near future, the versatile German 20 year old played for Bayer Leverkusen last season but did have the option of getting signed by Bayern Munich who probably did not see him fit into the team and he was snapped up by Liverpool for a paltry fee of £10 million, now most would say that £10 million is a lot of money but in truth, getting quality for £10 million is not easy.
While Can initially did not get as many starts as he would have liked, probably because he was getting accustomed to the English style of play and more importantly to a foreign country, we saw his real quality when Liverpool played Chelsea at Anfield earlier in the season. The German midfielder scored a goal, deflected no doubt but his performance that day was good but better things were to come from the German.
Liverpool were in a bit of a rut and the debut of their 3-4-2-1 formation against Manchester United might have ended with a 3-0 loss, the formation has been the key to their success and the success of Emre Can. Can can play in defence and has played as a left back and centre back for his previous clubs, so while it was no surprise he was playing as a centre back when Dejan Lovren was dropped from the squad.
This is when he started to show just how good he is, alongside Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho in the 3 man defence, Can is the player who can pass the ball around and is expected to link up with the midfield more than the other defenders. Can is strong but can play a good ball, which was on show as Raheem Sterling equalized in midweek against Bolton in the FA Cup. Can played a glorious lofted cross above the Bolton defence for Sterling to score in the 86th minute.
With so many players coming into the league, it often is hard to name just who is the best player from the new crop, certainly most people would say that Alexis Sanchez has been the best buy this season but Emre Can has been the better signing in terms of value for money, as already said, for £10 million, Liverpool have not just signed a brilliant youngster but a player who can play in just about any position in the midfield or defence and will get better with time.
Can should be seen as a short term replacement for Liverpool’s centre back problems, he is talented enough to play more in midfield thanks not only to his vision but also the strength he brings in midfield. Steven Gerrard will leave a huge void in the middle of the Liverpool midfield but it will be the German who could become the next great midfielder at Liverpool, not a Gerrard for sure but to etch his name in Liverpool’s history.
Picture courtesy: Skysports, Express & LiverpoolFC
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