The task of replacing out-going Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard looks to be a daunting one, but club legend Mark Lawrenson feels that player is already in the squad.
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Gerrard is in to the final few days of his contract with the Anfield outfit and is set to join MLS side La Galaxy on July 1 as his 17-year association with his boyhood club draws to a close.
The 34-year-old’s departure will undoubtedly leave a huge hole in the midfield, but it also creates an opportunity for somebody to take on that role and Lawrenson believes that Germany U21 international Emre Can has all the tools to fill the former England skipper’s boots next season.
Can was used predominately on the right-hand side of a three-man defence last season, with mixed success, and Lawrenson would like to see the 21-year-old pushed further up the pitch next year:
“The further up the pitch he goes – another 15, 20 yards – I think he can have more effect on the team. The ball- playing and creativity,” the Reds legend said [via Express Sport].
“At right-sided centre-back, he saw a pass because you’ve got a bit more time and you’d hope he’d still be able to see that pass 15 yards further forward,” Lawrenson added.
Can certainly reminded manager Brendan Rodgers of his midfield qualities whilst on international duty with the young Germans at the European Under-21 Championship this summer as he scored their opening goal of the tournament against Serbia with a tidy finish from just outside the area.
It appears that competition for places in midfield for the Reds next season will be fierce following the arrivals of James Milner and Roberto Firmino, but is anybody going to be able to step up to the challenge of replacing Gerrard on and off the pitch?