Rafa Honigstein exclusive: Emre Can is vital for Liverpool

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Football expert Rafa Honigstein believes Emre Can is really important for Liverpool under new manager Jurgen Klopp.

The 21-year-old German was signed last summer from Bayer Leverkusen for almost £10 million but failed to hold down a regular starting position under Brendan Rodgers during his reign.

Can has played in a variety of positions in his short Liverpool career so far, filling in at right-back, centre-back and centre-midfield.


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However, the former Leverkusen midfielder has played every minute of Klopp's four league matches in charge, showing the new manager's faith in him.

Vital player

Honigstein thinks Can is benefiting from playing under a fellow German and will become a vital player for the club.

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"He's really important right now because he gets what Klopp wants," Honigstein told GiveMeSport.

"He played in systems that are quite similar, he understands the vocabulary, he understands the instructions and at times from what I've seen he almost acts as Klopp's liaison on the pitch. I think he's hugely influential at this point."

Extended run

It was Can who scored the first goal under the management of Klopp as he swept home his second Liverpool goal against Rubin Kazan two weeks ago.

His work-rate in midfield is something that fits perfectly into Klopp's philosophy and it seems the 48-year-old is willing to give Can an extended run in that midfield role.

However many, including Honigstein, consider Can's best position as a centre-back - a role Rodgers preferred him in.

"At Bayer Leverkusen they wanted to turn him into a centre-back but he didn't quite agree," recalled Honigstein.

"Whether he's got the quality to be a mainstay in Liverpool's midfield going forward I'm not 100% convinced. I think his best position may be at centre-back because he's a beast at winning the ball, but we'll have to see if Klopp sees him that way."


Many consider versatility as an advantage for a player, but it can also be a hindrance due to the difficulties of holding down a regular position.

It can also cause inconsistencies as some players struggle to adapt to the constant changes to their role.

Honigstein fears this could be the case with Can and feels as his career progresses, he will need to find himself a favoured position, but believes Klopp will know how to manage his compatriot.

"I think he's good at a lot of things but not very, very good at anything in particular. It can sometimes be a disadvantage for versatile players like Can because they are always moved around.

"I'm sure Klopp will find out what's best for him."

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