Brendan Rodgers has insisted that Emre Can will develop into an “outstanding” midfielder for Liverpool.
The 21-year-old joined the Reds from Bayer Leverkusen last summer for a £10m fee, but spent most of his debut campaign in the Premier League playing as part of a defensive three.
But Rodgers has no doubts that the German will eventually end up being a key performer in the centre of the park, where Liverpool are looking to fill the gaping hole left by Steven Gerrard.
Speaking ahead of his side’s trip to Bournemouth, Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo: “I think he can play and operate in any one of the three (midfield) positions.
“When I met Emre and having seen him play in a whole raft of positions his great attribute is that he’s a footballer, he understands the game. Whatever role he’s asked to play he has this inbuilt brain for football that allows him to adjust and adapt.
“But when I met him I asked him his preferred position, where he sees himself playing and that was as a controlling midfield player and that’s where I’ve always felt he’ll be an outstanding talent for us.
“As you see he can play in the back three, against Newcastle he played as one of the two centre-halves when we played a back four and was comfortable. But I think his passing range, his strength, his power he’s best in midfield and I think once again he’s finding his fitness.”
Gerrard left Anfield after 17 years this summer to join MLS outfit Los Angeles Galaxy, and long-serving Brazilian Lucus Leiva is expected to follow the former England captain out of Merseyside.
That should mean more midfield chances for Can, who made 40 appearances for Rodgers last season but is still working his way back to fitness after Germany’s European Under-21 Championship campaign.
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