HomeFeatured ArticlesLiverpool: Why Emre Can Is the future, Not Henderson

Liverpool: Why Emre Can Is the future, Not Henderson

One of the biggest mistakes that Klopp made was to allow Jordan Henderson to keep the armband when he took over. Maybe he didn’t want to change too much, too soon.

But in his second season, Hendo still has it. Apart from him not bossing games or being a natural midfield general ( shouting at the ref doesn’t count as commanding), it basically made him “undroppable” and in the process stunted the development of Emre Can in central midfield, because unfortunately for the German International, Hendo plays there too.

The result was a player who had played in front of the back four from a young age, being kept out of the side by a player who just adapted recently to the role.

Yes, Henderson has the highest passes in the league but most of them short, 5 yard passes or the safe option back to defenders and the goalkeeper, when put under a little pressure.

Emre Can on the other hand, as has been clear in the last few games, does a lot more than pass backwards and side wards. He falls backs and defends admirably, wins the ball back and does something Hendo is incapable of : He runs out with the ball, takes on players and drives the team forward.

Emre Can has come in for a lot of criticism in the recent past. Initially when returning from a niggling Calf injury, he was one of our worst players, struggling to get to full match fitness. Supporters were calling for his head and his performances were  indefensible. But with the injury to Hendo, Klopp kept faith with him and in recent games he has played at a level that we all expected him to be on. Alongside Gini Wijnaldum, the pair showed against Manchester City and last week against Burnley that they are indeed the future. Full of running, intensity and bite in the tackle, they worked their socks off and to good effect.

Part of the dilemma now lies in these golden questions: Will Klopp sacrifice the momentum and growing understanding of Can and Wijnaldum to make space for his captain ?And who does he drop , Emre or Gini?

Most likely, Emre Can will face the chop, which is rather unfortunate as he has just come into  good form and showed his potential to be a mainstay in the team.

Owen Hargreaves, as part of a recent EPL match day panel said that when at Bayern Munich ,Can had already been touted as the next midfield general to come out of the system and was surprised to see that his time had been limited in his development in that specific role at Liverpool. [The Hendo Dilemma]

To date, Emre Can is still one of the lowest paid players at the club and contract negotiations have been ongoing since last season. With recent  form and age on his side ( He’s only 23), it would make sense to keep him, improve his wages and give him more responsibility.

Hardcore Henderson followers have pulled out the statistics of most passes again to keep Henderson’s star burning, no doubt worried that he might now lose his place.

That statistic is useless as N’golo Kante has less passes than Hendo, but I’m sure everyone wished they had Kante in their teams. How many top teams would want Henderson “bossing” their midfield?

It remains to be seen, but it does seem as though he will be saved by the (arm) band.

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    • Xabi Alonso isn’t the quickest and he bosses games for decades. [No comparison of course but just using the example in terms of pace]
      But I think Emre Can is getting up to full speed now with the recent run of games.
      Did especially well against Burnley and City.

  1. I love this article, I have been saying this for years. Hendo is overrated nothing special about him. His average player we perform better without him. Hope they sell him this season but again who will want to buy him. His really below average

  2. I agree Can needs more playing time and prefer him to slow the game down Henderson He does pass to the side or pass back to the keeper most of the time .hardly ever takes ball forward or long passes . He scored a long range goal couple of months ago but that could have gone anywhere. Trying to not say lucky. Can the man. Play him

  3. Emre Can had his best game against man city but moreso in the second half than the first he doesn’t make the team tick like Henderson does. He lacks confidence and has to grow into games. Whenever he makes those driving runs he leaves us open defensively and has to track back if we lose the ball which puts pressure on our defence cause hes playing the holding midfield role rather than either side of the holding mid. Henderson’s defensive positioning and tackling ability gives us solidity in midfield and a platform to build off offensively.

  4. Cans a good player and might take that position over from Henderson as soon as next season but Henderson is the better player for now. He is very underestimated because he doesn’t do any shiny things, like Can. Can’s dribbling is vastly superior indeed but it slows the the ball circulation and is one of the things he should limit in his game. What is the effect of carriying the ball to Lallana if he can aso pass it. It’s nice to see but not tactically effective. Furthermore, Hendersons passing is longer than you think, just go check his average passing length distance compared to other DM’s in the league. He also posses an greater engine and positional disapline. He is less sloppy and less likely to loos the ball wich is crucial in his position (also why Can should dribble less)

  5. the delusions, Henderson is one of the top midfielders in the league in ball recovery he’s really upped his game, his passing range only continues to improve with every passing match and he’s far more mobile and on another planet to Can in technicality. Can has literally been a liability for us and everyone’s seem to forget this after his goal against Burnley, he’s been the stand out player attributing to our post 2017 slump and we continued to persist and it cost us. Can’t sell him soon enough, joke of an article Can may be playing well now don’t come crying the moment he costs us because it will happen if he continues to get appearences.

  6. the fact of the matter is Captain fantastico Hendo just waves his arms standing of opposition and has a depressed over exerted face on which gives them time on the ball a/ to look up and pick a pass and b/ for opposition runners to make them runs causing panic as the problem isn’t shut at the root. Yeah i admit he gives his all and runs forever but a lot of it is unnecessary especially when he runs in to the defence as a centre back and stands away from the mid field as he is not reading the game well enough asking for problems and lacks confidence. I just do not believe his best is good enough for Liverpool. The team have to bail him out every time cos he sits so deep the attack then have to drop back which ultimately makes it difficult to run and finish attacks as the whole team is pulled back. its not about opinion men lie women lie numbers do not and he hasnt achieved anything. And clearly he is not vocal enough or creative to be a Liverpool captain I am sorry pal I know you like what he is doing but I cant see any strengths yeah he might ping a pass or two but that does not win games or shut games down you need have a football brain which he hasn’t I’m afraid to say.

  7. On the half turn Can is very slow. Henderson’s dynamism is violent gesticulation. I can’t make a case for either to be in our starting 11 if we want to win the PL

  8. Let me just start by saying as a DM its important to cover the defence, which Can does a decent job of. However I disagree and think that Can will never be a mainstay in a team that has a 4-3-3 system. He would adapt nicely in different roles that do not involve controlling the direction of the team. Yes he drives the play forward but often ends up losing the ball, or misplacing his passes. Henderson does a decent job of making the team tick while also providing decent defensive coverage. Gerrard himself rates Henderson. As for the driving the team forward how often do you see Alonso making lung bursting runs? How about Busquets? Busquets is more comparable because he plays in a 4-3-3 however. Obviously im not saying Hendo could even lace his boots but I am however saying that Can will not ever be the general you say he will be. Germany does however have their next commander in Weigl. He has it all, and I would love him to replace Hendo at Liverpool.

  9. Attacking players usually have a flair about them, dribbling/taking on defenders. Henderson doesn’t possess any of those attributes.
    Taking long range shots, sideways/backwards passes isn’t attacking, pal.

  10. n is an overrated player for now not Henderson!! Henderson this season has been Liverpool best defencesive midfielder. yes he doesn’t possess the dribbling skills!! at least he is more technical, direct, error less and a good tackler. have you guys forgotten the match again Chelsea, it was his awareness, his pass that leaded to the equaliser. I think Liverpool are more composed with Henderson I don’t doubt can abilities! he is still young, skillful, and has lovely techniques. I think consistency is what we want from him.

  11. Hendo does not take free kicks , corners and proved to be worst at penalties as well. Running like an ass does not make a good player … at least with current EPL standards…..just mimicking Gerrard for long crosses does not help either…..
    If Liverpool wants to progress get rid of such assess. ………


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