Emre Can proving decisive in Liverpool’s top 4 chase

Emre Can made a difference when he came on

It hasn’t been an easy season for Liverpool. After starting the season so beautifully, Liverpool went from being title challengers to barely keeping their necks in the race for Champions League next season. As 2017 arrived, injuries, run of fixtures and perhaps just saturation completely changed the course of their season.

It hasn’t even been an easy season for Emre Can. From being Klopp’s most trusted general in the midfield, Can lost his way around. The German, however, is finishing the campaign in a stunning way.

The goal against Watford was sublime and merely an illustration of his impressive recent resurgence.

Klopp deputised Henderson in Can’s preferred No. 6 role of a deep lying midfielder, and the Liverpool captain excelled in the same. Can was visibly struggling from his own niggling calf injury and Liverpool’s injury troubles also ensured Can was being operated in roles he wasn’t great in. The box-to-box central midfielder spot was given to him, but the German failed to match Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum’s pace. It was an awkward fit.

Now with Jordan Henderson struggling with his own injury issues, Can has been playing in a more comfortable deeper role and has played a starring role in Liverpool’s wins over Stoke City, West Brom and Watford. Most of Liverpool’s wins in 2017 have come due to grit and determination, and not the beautiful attacking play they were earlier and are normally associated with. These teams look easy on paper, but as we have witnessed this season, these are the toughest teams for the Reds.

His resurgence is also well-timed because he is negotiating his contract with Liverpool. According to reports in March, contract talks broke down with Liverpool seemingly unwilling to meet €100,000 wage demands. Can, however, later denied that the reason was simply money.

Many are questioning Liverpool rewarding Can with a high paying contract, especially if the German will not be part of the club’s long-term future, or if he doesn’t play enough games next season with Henderson, Lallana and Wijnaldum the choice forwards. His performances have certainly justified why he wants a better contract.

It also must be noted that Liverpool’s primary problem this season has been the lack of quality in depth in the squad. Liverpool will certainly have a busier schedule next season with games in either of the two European competitions. Squad rotation will be imperative in this case, and Can is a player who needs to stay at Liverpool. He is only 23 and has time and again proved his versatility. He has also played well in the recent games, and along with Simon Mignolet, has been crucial in keeping Liverpool’s top 4 hopes alive.

Arsenal v Manchester United - where do two former champions go from this season?
N'Golo Kante is at levels even Europe's best cannot match