Colin Pascoe: Can be Liverpool leader

Liverpool assistant manager Colin Pascoe believes Emre Can could be a future club captain but, in the short term, may just have to settle with assuming Steven Gerrard’s midfield role.

Colin Pascoe: Can be Liverpool leader

Gerrard is awaiting results of a scan on a hamstring problem which could keep him sidelined for a fortnight and with Lucas Leiva already out for between four and six weeks with a thigh problem, the side are looking light in central midfield ahead of tomorrow’s visit to Crystal Palace (5.30pm kick-off).

Can, who arrived from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer as a midfielder but has adapted to defensive role in a back three, stepped in briefly in midweek when Gerrard went off in the win over Tottenham.

Vice-captain Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen are the only two fit senior central midfielders with Can another option, although his success in defence may mean Brendan Rodgers is reluctant to move him.

Asked whether Can’s calmness under pressure and quality on the ball makes him a potential future captain Pascoe said: “He is young, he is learning his game, but in years to come I am sure he will progress to be one of them.

“He is a leader on the pitch and the way he is playing he has been fantastic.”

With Mario Balotelli scoring his first Premier League goal to win the match against Spurs there is renewed hope the Italy international will be able to make something of a so-far disappointing career at Anfield.

The problem he has is Daniel Sturridge is back to full fitness and in the current 3-4-3 system there is really only room for one out-and-out striker. However, Pascoe admits the goal has not done Balotelli any harm.

“Mario is Mario. He comes in every day, works hard. He is one of those guys who when he is out there he wants to work well,” said the assistant boss, standing in for manager Brendan Rodgers who was returning from Italy on player-related business.

““It is not about one player, it is about the group, and the next game with all the players available.”

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