Hoddle: This is why Emre Can is so important for Liverpool

Versatile Liverpool star Emre Can has received plenty of plaudits in recent weeks.

Former Tottenham Hotspur boss Glenn Hoddle says Emre Can’s ability to receive the ball under pressure and drive his team forward is why he is such an important Liverpool player, the Daily Mail report.

The regular Daily Mail blogger has been assessing the Reds’ upcoming encounter against Manchester United and the contrasting fortunes of their respective unorthodox systems.

The Red Devils have often played a 3-5-2 formation under Dutchman Louis van Gaal this season, but the system has come in for criticism as player performances have often been sub-par at best.

Brendan Rodgers’ side, on the other hand, have gone from strength to strength since adopting a 3-4-3 formation, and an unbeaten 13-game Premier League run has seen them surge up the table.

But what has been the underlying difference between the two? Hoddle puts it down to personnel, and in particular the brilliance of central defender Emre Can.

“Louis van Gaal has used a back three several times in his career. But at Manchester United he hasn’t been able to deploy it with the success that Rodgers has at Liverpool,” Hoddle explained.

“The key for me is that your back three need to be able to accept the ball and move it even under pressure. Liverpool are prepared to give their defenders the ball under pressure and they’ve been comfortable with that.

“That’s why Emre Can, initially signed as a midfielder, has been so important. His technique on the ball gives them a safety valve in possession at the back.”

  DateTackles per GameDefensive Duels Won per GameTotal Passes per GamePass Success %AppearancesMins Played
Emre Can 15/12/14 - Now 2.25 6.83 50.67 83% 12 1,035

As per the table provided by Opta Stats, since the Reds’ change in system in mid-December Can has been a heavily influential figure.

He has recorded 2.25 tackles and 6.83 defensive duel wins on average per game, but in regards to Hoddle’s assessment, the Germany U21 international is indeed an integral player when in possession.

The former Bayern Munich youngster averages as many as 50 passes per Premier League encounter, with a completion rate of 83% - a figure which still has room for improvement.

Sunday’s huge clash at Anfield will be an intriguing battle and will be played at an extremely fast pace, a scenario which the hosts have grown accustomed to and will look to work in their favour.

Aside from Can’s ability to pass the ball, his quick decision making separates him from the rest and it is here where the Reds will look to exploit United’s glaring weaknesses in defence.

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