3. Emre Can
A huge criticism of Liverpool during their January slump is how weak they are in the air. They have been regularly bossed around by taller sides who have strong heading prowess. Liverpool fans had Stoke and West Brom as two games they may slip to that flaw. Emre Can’s performances were a huge part of why they didn’t.
The German midfielder certainly has the physical attributes to succeed. You don’t see him bullied off the ball. You don’t see him getting beaten for pace. He also has a high level of technique. Germany don’t hand out international caps to midfielders that can’t pass or control a ball. If there has been criticism of Can it has been decision-making.
The mental aspect of the game is the hardest to get. Over the last six weeks he finally seems comfortable in the Liverpool system and able to carry out Klopp’s wishes. Increasing defensive discipline and smarter forward passing are signs of increased tactical development. This is why FSG hired Klopp in the first place. His coaching ability has been crucial to his countryman’s progress. His growth gives the manager a decision to make when Henderson returns and expands his options to game plan for different opponents.