Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has told the Liverpool Echo he won’t be moving Emre Can into the midfield ahead of the visit of Tottenham Hotspur, despite losing Lucas Leiva for an extended period to a thigh problem.
Can, 21, arrived from Leverkusen in June for a reported £9.75 million fee, but struggled to break into the line-up over the first few months of the season.
Rodgers’ recent decision to shift to a 3-4-3 formation, however, has seen the central midfielder start on the right-hand side of a back-three for the past 11 games, with the club’s form making a noticeable improvement since.
With Lucas set to be out for four to six weeks after limping off in the 16th-minute of the weekend’s 0-0 draw at Everton, it had been mooted that the versatile German could return to his natural position in the centre of the pitch, but Rodgers would rather keep a defence which has recorded four successive league clean sheets intact.
“Lucas has been very important for us but there will be an opportunity for someone else,” Rodgers said.
“Eventually, Can will be a player who plays further forwards and there might be games when I do think that but you also have to remember the balance of the team as well, which is very good at the moment.
“It’s four clean sheets in a row and defensively we have been very strong.
“With Emre you can see the importance of his role and the position he plays in there. He was immense at the weekend in a real physical game.
“Why disrupt that and try and fix something that could actually create another problem? The balance of the team is fine at the moment.”
Instead of Can, it’s expected that Joe Allen will deputise for Lucas, having come off the bench to replace the Brazilian at Goodison Park.
The Welshman has not started a Premier League game since mid-December and, with his teammate proving one of the side’s most important pieces in recent weeks, he faces a tough task filling the void left in his absence.