With Emre, Reds Can do it
Rodgers and former Pool stars sing praises of Mr Versatile
Philippe Coutinho might have earned the plaudits for scoring the injury-time winner against Bolton yesterday morning (Singapore time), but Liverpool fans had no doubt who their best player was.
The Reds supporters voted on Twitter for German midfielder Emre Can to be their Man of the Match.
The 21-year-old (in red), who has shone in a defensive role in recent months, was pushed into midfield as the Reds chased the game late on after falling behind to an Eidur Gudjohnsen penalty.
And the £10-million ($20m) signing from Bayer Leverkusen showed his quality going forward, when he sent an inch-perfect dink over the defence for Raheem Sterling to score the equaliser in the 86th minute. Can also rattled the crossbar with a rocket of a shot from the edge of the area.
"When Bolton went down to 10 men, we went to two at the back and I pushed him into a midfield role," Rodgers said of Can.
"This club's great history is synonymous with players who have the ability to play and guys who have the courage to play. That's how I want my team to play and Emre has that."
Can has found it difficult at first to impress Rodgers who used him sparingly.
In the first 10 games of the season, Can featured just four times for the Reds.
An ankle injury interrupted his progress not long after that but, since Christmas, the German has been a permanent fixture in the starting line-up.
Since the start of last month, no Liverpool player has made more interceptions than Can's seven in the Premier League. He's even extremely high on the clearances mark, too, with only Mamadou Sakho (36) and Martin Skrtel (30) having made more than the German (29).
"Emre is a wonderful player," Rodgers told talkSPORT.
"I went to see him in Germany last year. I was watching him as a central midfielder but, every time I watched him, he never played there. He was either centre back or fullback.
"The only positions he didn't play was goalkeeper and as a striker.
"He's a big talent."
Former Liverpool defender Rob Jones, who won the FA Cup in 1992 with the Merseyside club, was impressed with Can's performance.
"Emre Can has been great tonight... Getting better every game," Jones said on Twitter.
Former Reds striker John Aldridge also tipped the German to become a key player for Rodgers over the next couple of years.
"Can gets better every time I see him. Could be a big player in the future for us. Proper football brain too!" Aldridge tweeted. - Wire Services.
EMRE CAN’S MATCH STATS
- Pass accuracy: 86%
- Touches: 84
- Shots: 2
- Dribbles: 3
- Tackles: 2