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Midfield Support Key to Liverpool’s Champions League Hopes

According to Liverpool legend John Aldridge, Emre Can’s goal on Monday was an example of what the club needs more of.

Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images

With Adam Lallana out with injury for the past six weeks, Liverpool have been a side that has struggled to find quality midfield support in the attacking third. On Monday, though, it was Emre Can pushing on who scored the game's only goal, a spectacular scissored volley that earned Liverpool all three points against Watford.

It was a stunning moment, but it was also a moment that had Liverpool legend John Aldridge reflecting on the club's struggles to get their midfielders into and around the penalty area in recent weeks, a situation that has seen goals becoming an increasingly difficult thing to find for the team as a whole.

"It was a fantastic strike to win the game on Monday," Aldridge noted in his Liverpool Echo column. "It was also a massive goal in terms of importance for the club. The way we play, I think it's important that Can and Gini Wijnaldum get in the box. To be fair, Can had a chance against Palace which he got wrong.

"It shows they've been told to make runs into the box. Midfield players should be able to time their runs into the box and as an opposition defender it's very hard to track a good run from a midfield player. In our days the likes of Steve McMahon, Ronnie Whelan, and Jan Molby were all chipping in with their share of goals."

It hasn't always worked, then, Wijnaldum and Can's attempts to support the attack, but the intent is there. And that intent paid off on Monday. Add in that Lallana made his return and is expected to start against Southampton and that Philippe Coutinho's injury looks minor, and things are starting to look up again for the Reds.

"It was good to see Adam Lallana back," Aldridge added. "Things happen in football. Coutinho comes off and you're gutted but it allowed Lallana to get an hour under his belt and the game changed. He wanted the ball when other players didn't seem to want to and was passing and moving, causing problems."

Sadio Mané won't be back this season, but if Lallana and Coutinho can both play a part in their final three games of the season and the midfield players can continue to play a role by at least trying to push on in support, the mood will be good and hopes will be high as Liverpool look to secure their Champions League return.

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