Emre Can has tended looked best for Liverpool in a box-to-box role, one that allows the physical midfielder to throw himself around in midfield with little consideration for tactics or positioning. At times, it's been when he's been asked to screen and play a more conservative game that the 21-year-old has looked a little raw.
On Sunday, with Lucas Leiva suspended, it fell to Can to play that safe, controlled, screening role. That it fell to the German and not Joe Allen was a surprise when the teamsheet was announced. By the time the match was over, with Swansea not just shut out but having failed to manage a shot on target, any pre-match doubts were long forgotten.
Can at times can seem to try to do too much in a more roaming role, charing around the pitch only to end up out of position. And all the running can at times seem to tire him out, leaving him jogging back at half speed while the opposition breaks dangerously. On Sunday, though, the youngster was careful to always play within himself, and he was superb.
He was arguably the best player on the pitch for the Reds, offering a constant outlet for the defence and sprinkling in some impressive long balls over the top that on another day could have been the undoing of Swansea's compact defence. Then, when the visitings Swans did break, he was always well positioned to snuff out any danger.
Given what he can contribute pushing forward with the ball at his feet, it may still be that a more box-to-box role is the one for which he's ideally suited. And against a top side that provides more attacking cut and thrust his ability to read the opposition and occasional tactical naivety could still end up being exploited. On Sunday. though, he excelled.
He excelled in a role he hasn't always showed an aptitude for at Liverpool; a role that at times his play in other positions has made him seem a questionable fit for. Wherever he ends up in Liverpool's midfield over the longer term, that seems worth another look.Video by MrBoywunder