Liverpool could be set to lose a star duo, but the German midfielder is a ready-made replacement, and the club should make signing him its priority.

By 90Min
November 16, 2017

Since his arrival at Anfield in 2014, Emre Can has been considered the future for Liverpool's midfield. 

The powerful German has been a versatile player for the Reds, featuring in midfield and across defense under Jurgen Klopp's management. And with the 23-year-old approaching his 100th appearance for the club, you could argue that his performances, potential and general ability are enough factors to listen to his contract demands and do whatever it takes to get him to sign a new deal. 

Can's current deal will expire next summer, leaving the German free to talk to clubs about signing a pre-contract in January. If the Reds can't convince the midfield enforcer to sign a new deal, they may also look to offload him in two months' time to get at least some money for him. 

Juventus have put their name in the hat as an interested party, and the chance to join a side regularly competing both in Serie A and the Champions League will be an attractive option for Can. 

The Reds may also be seeing their star man, Philippe Coutinho, grace the Anfield pitch for his final season in the Prem. Barcelona came close to prising the Brazilian away from the Reds last summer, and it looks at though they will stop at nothing to get their man either in January or next summer. Klopp did well to keep the 25-year-old at the club for this season, but should Liverpool fail to bring home any silverware and fall behind in the top-four race, Coutinho will more than likely leave. 

The Reds will receive a sizeable sum for Coutinho and maybe over £20m for Can if they offload him in January. One man they could spend some of that money on is Schalke's Leon Goertzka.

The 22-year-old is in a similar situation to Can, with his contract running out in the summer and open to talking to clubs in January. Much like his international counterpart, Goretzka has created a buzz about his potential through a series of magnificent performances for club and country. 

As such a tall and skillful player, Goretzka has the ability to replace both Can and Coutinho due to his versatility and willingness to play in a variety of positions.

Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

The 22-year-old has experience playing in a similar, wide-left position to Coutinho, although his favored position is generally as a second striker, fitting in the number 10 role. However, Schalke have also played him in a deeper-lying role, where he uses his physicality to boss the game from further back. 

What many don't know about Goretzka is that he has a good amount of pace, which could be lethal if played in an attacking three with Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and a prolific forward in front of him. The Reds will have Naby Keita joining them next summer, so switching to a 4-2-3-1 system with Keita and Henderson sitting, and Goretzka playing in the hole will bring both defensive solidity and attacking brilliance. 

Since the start of his first-team career, the German has averaged an 80% pass completion rate, showing that he isn't afraid to attempt ambitious through balls. Liverpool will be looking to bring in a creator, a connector between their midfielders and forwards, and Goretzka's box-to-box nature means he has the ability to be that man. 

The Schalke man is still young and remains the unfinished product - but if Klopp can bring him in for free next summer, the Reds will already be on their way to having a very good window.

Losing Coutinho and Can will leave a couple of holes in the squad, but based on his performances for both club and country, Goretzka has the ability to be a dominant replacement in the middle of the park.

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