Emre Can will play a major role in Liverpool’s midfield this season, with Brendan Rodgers earmarking the German for the defensive-midfield position.
That is according to Liverpool Echo journalist James Pearce.
Can’s introduction 62 minutes into Sunday’s 1-0 victory away to Stoke City prompted a more progressive Liverpool system, and the 21-year-old’s inclusion came at the expense of Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva.
Lucas has been linked with a move away from Merseyside this summer, and Pearce discussed his departure.
“I don’t think it was a great shock that [Lucas] wasn’t in the starting lineup,” he said.
“But I was surprised that he didn’t make the bench, and I think for someone of his experience to not make the bench the alarm bells are ringing.
“Knowing Lucas as I do, he would certainly have been devastated to be told he wasn’t even on the bench.
“I think it was telling as well that whilst the likes of [Mamadou] Sakho and [Lazar] Markovic did travel, Lucas didn’t.”
He later continued: “Rodgers in his time at Liverpool has never really gone in for the archetypal defensive midfielder…I just feels like it’s probably the end for Lucas.
“He wanted to go to Napoli last summer, but Liverpool weren’t prepared to loan him out.
“He wanted to go to Inter Milan in January, but Liverpool weren’t prepared to sell him at that point.
“It’s fair to say he’s been frustrated at falling down the pecking order.”
Can is one of the major contributing factors in Lucas’ marginalisation within Rodgers’ squad, and Pearce elaborated on his first-team role for 2015/16 elsewhere for the Echo.
“From what I’ve heard, the staff do believe Can can play that role in front of the back four,” he said.
“I think it’s needed more in the bigger games, not so much when teams come to Anfield and sit back.”
Along with Lucas, Pearce reaffirmed Liverpool’s desire to sell Fabio Borini, Mario Balotelli and Jose Enrique this summer.
He also raised question marks over the future of left-back Alberto Moreno.
Can is part of a new-look squad for the 2015/16 season, and the Reds are in a much healthier position as they renew they charge in the Premier League and beyond.