Emre Can returned from injuring his ankle ligaments in the middle of last month against Borussia Dortmund to boss the midfield against Villarreal -- fourth in La Liga -- with Anfield bearing witness to his inspiring command. There were other superb performances, Roberto Firmino in particular, but no player in Liverpool red was returning from what looked to be a season-ending injury. Emre Can shouldn't have been on the field, shouldn't have lasted as long as he did, and shouldn't have looked like the club's midfield leader for the next decade or so but he accomplished all three with relative ease.
Players who have many tools in their game tend to overplay things when they're young. From early on in his Liverpool career, Can looked like he was a player with ability and presence to be an important midfielder in the future. Despite a debut season mainly featuring on the right of a back three, the arrival of Jürgen Klopp brought more opportunities for development as it has done for so many of Liverpool's players. It's clear that Can is settling into a role as the deeper player of a midfield two, making recovery tackles, pushing forward from deep as the need arises, and displaying an uncannily perfect head of hair in the midst of midfield attrition.
Liverpool needed him and he delivered. This is what many Liverpool players have done to secure their place in the affections of fans, with the curious exception of Daniel Sturridge. Maybe with a prolonged period of fitness, Sturridge will finally receive the respect and adulation his considerable and consistent talents deserve. For Can, however, there can be not a slither of doubt about his importance to a reconstructed midfield in the absence of the legendary Steven Gerrard. This is a player Liverpool fans will hope the club can enjoy for the entirety of Klopp's time at the club and beyond, if possible.
There are so many superlatives and platitudes that the 22-year-old's performance deserves, and fortunately, there is a video that details the forceful majesty that was on display at Anfield against a solid Spanish side that simply had no answer to Liverpool's midfield commander.