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Emre Can: License To Drive Forward

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Can is enjoying a more attacking role at Liverpool this season.

Liverpool v Watford - Premier League
First, he’s driving. Now, he’s flying. A lot of metaphors going on.
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

It was a slow start to the Premier League season for Emre Can but he’s been picking up the pace in recent weeks and building plenty of momentum. The Liverpool midfielder has been placed in more advanced positions by Jürgen Klopp, working himself into some of our fancy attacking play. Can has now scored a goal in two straight matches for the first time with the club.

“I’ve played a little bit differently to last season,” said Can. “I’ve been playing offensively so I think I make the runs into the box more.

“Last year I played more in the role of holding position and this year I’ve been playing more in the half-spaces. Playing in the half-spaces means I can go forward more.”

While his wild, driving runs into nowhere or into trouble offer a strange emotional cocktail of frustration and elation, there is also a method to Can’s role in the team. His headed goal against Watford was not the result of reckless abandon but the outcome of work and discipline.

“The goal I scored against Watford, the header, well two days before the game we’d worked on that move in the training session so it was nice to actually score it.”

He’s come a long way in the blink of an eye, Emre Can has. The German midfielder will be making his one hundredth appearance for Liverpool if he plays against Southampton on Saturday.

“If I think back to when I first came to Melwood and then played my first game, it’s great to play my one hundredth game for such a big club. It’s a big honour for me.

“I am very thankful to everybody here at the club—the fans, the staff, the staff behind the staff, my teammates and the coaches. I am very happy here in Liverpool. It is a big club and I enjoy playing here.”

There is a whole lot to Emre Can’s game that is yet to be realized. He’s quick and he’s sharp, but he’s also young and he’s learning. He will get better and better, game by game, under Klopp. There will be more goals. There will be more discipline. And, if there’s any goodness in the world, we’ll all be clinking our emotional cocktail glasses together by season’s end.