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The acronym ‘ACL’ has become a nightmare for the Liverpool fans these days. Almost every single players of theirs, who is delivering the goods for the Reds is succumbing to similar injuries, time after time. Both Danny Ings and Joe Gomez, who were doing very well when the season was slowly wearing on, the English players had to suffer anterior cruciate ligament injuries that played a part in hitting Liverpool hard. Daniel Sturridge, who himself in nursing a knee injury alongside young Jon Flanagan is already on the sidelines.
And another name adds to that list, in the form of defender Mamadou Sakho. Sakho, was easily Liverpool’s best defender this season, had transformed into a wholly different centre-half under Jurgen Klopp. Under Rodgers, he was used more often as a ball playing defender, who had an onus on his shoulders to build up play from deeper areas. The Northern Irishman never realised that Sakho wasn’t good on the ball or in possession, but he excelled more in off the ball traits. And Klopp handed him more of an off the ball role, as soon as he took over the reins at Anfield.
And despite Sakho, Liverpool did concede goals although to a lesser degree, when placed in juxtaposition to his time under Brendan Rodgers. They do concede goals, but to a lesser extent but the faucet is always a tad leaky, no matter what. Sakho has been ruled out for 2 months and although he has evaded an ACL but that amount of time is something Liverpool would be concerned for, taking into account their defensive frailties. And the man to replace him at centre-half is none other than the Reds’ utility German star player- Emre Can.
The 20-year-old German although has made some defensive errors this season, but the centre-back is a position where you are aware of your defensive responsibilities, unlike when you’re fielded as a central midfielder. He has been deployed alongside the likes of Lucas and James Milner in the central midfield, in either a two man or a three man midfield. Attacking wise, he has looked promising. He is someone who dictates possession and knows how to exchange passes in the midfield, building up play.
Can has played as a centre-half before, last season to be specific when Liverpool had a dearth in that department and Dejan Lovren was struggling to find his feet, much like these days. Lovren struggled a great deal during Liverpool’s recent loss against Crystal Palace and the raw pace that they have in the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Yannick Bolasie and Bakary Sako. He has clearly failed to live up to the hype that surrounded him about the Croatian being the next Jamie Carragher or the next combative bruiser centre-half. He’s lost every bit of confidence and swagger that he had during his stint at Southampton, after arriving from Lyon. He’s made 6 defensive errors this season, more than any other Liverpool player.
Can is someone who’s in the mould of a marauding wide centre-half, who can make some overloading runs into the midfield, allowing an extra incentive to attack. He’s defensively sound too. His marking abilities are something that stand out more than any other. He’s quick when running back towards the goal and shows tenacity to come back up when gone down. Kolo Toure is too slow and we’ve seen glimpses of poor defending from the Cote d’Ivoire defender already. That too on numerous occasions in the past. The own goal against Fulham and that ridiculous giveaway at Hawthorns in the 2013-14 season are indicative of what he’s been at Anfield. Martin Skrtel has looked good at centre-back, and barring young, inexperienced players who are given some playing time in cup games by Klopp, Emre Can seems the most viable and solid option Liverpool currently have.