Emre Can is an attractive footballer. By that, I don’t mean that he’s attractive - though, as the kids say, where’s the lie? - but rather that Emre Can possesses qualities that make it fun to watch him play. He’s physically imposing, standing tall among those he marshals in the center of the park. He’s got a thundering boot that can strike from distance. He has vision. He works incredibly hard. When he’s on, his play is simply sumptuous. And, again, he looks like this.
Unfortunately, Emre Can is also a streaky footballer. By that, I don’t mean he is prone to streaking - though, as Tupac says, only God can judge! - but that his quality of play waxes and wanes. And while some of that can most certainly be chalked up to being young and, perhaps-though-less-likely, having been kind of a positional nomad at times during his LFC career, it looks as though you have to take the streakiness with the beauty.
This season, Reds fans have been in a bit of a bind, swinging between these two versions of Emre as his performances have gone. All of this taking place with thechance (and likelihood) that this summer might see him leave on a free playing in the background. It makes for a bit of a maddening, emotional pendulum. When he’s good, a sadness at the inevitability of losing out on a player we’ve helped to grow creeps in. When he’s less good, eyes flit to the next midfield maestro du jour. In a rarity, LFC fans are very aware of what they’ve got before it’s gone.
And that brings us to the experience of this weekend’s match against West Ham United, watching Emre rise up with a well-placed header won with the physicality that only he among our midfield options possesses. A goal to surely celebrate. Of course, this match becomes a perfect symbol of his inconsistency as it was his brain fart that lead to West Ham’s only goal. So it goes with Emre. But then, he graces us with that vision and touch by chipping a ball so gorgeous into Roberto Firmino’s feet for Liverpool’s third goal, securing the match with it, and spinning us right back into the ennui of losing him.
There’s lots about this season that will go by in a flash. As has been pointed out here and on social media, this particular season is actually one of the best - points-wise - in recent history. Couple that with a positive experience to this point in the Champions League, and it’s got the makings of a special run. No, it’s not quite hit the apex of 2013-14’s title challenge - and with Manchester City making quick work of any potential drama to the Premier League title, that makes sense. But there is still some magic yet and I, for one, wish to soak it all in.
Especially with the looming specter of losing such a wonderfully gifted, if undeniably frustrating talent as Emre Can. Bring on the rest of this season and whatever challenges may yet come. I am unabashedly transfixed on one, supremely well-coiffed, technically gifted, if also tactically undisciplined midfielder. And I aim to enjoy every single moment we’ve got left together.