28 Nov 2015

Gerrard: Forget Can - Liverpool should've signed 'sensational' £10m powerhouse to replace me

Throughout 2014, Liverpool were regularly linked with England U21 midfielder Dele Alli, who ultimately rejected Anfield to sign for Spurs. At one point, Brendan Rodgers made a personal scouting trip to watch £10m-rated Alli, and according to Anfield legend Steven Gerrard, the Reds made a huge mistake in failing to sign the young midfielder.

In an interview with BT Sport this week, Gerrard explained:

"I was disappointed Liverpool didn't sign him [Alli], especially with me coming to the end. I could see [him] playing for Liverpool for 10 or 15 years."

Prior to his £5m Spurs move, a move to Liverpool seemed nailed on. Indeed, at one point, Alli - hailed by former boss Karl Robinson as 'sensational' - claimed to be a 'Liverpool fan', and admitted that Gerrard 'was a big influence' on him.

Alli's fan-status made no difference to his decision, however, as he specifically rejected a move to Anfield. He recently told the Liverpool Echo:

“I didn’t feel Liverpool was the right move. I wanted to stay at MK a bit longer to get some more first-team experience”.

Gerrard's comments also (indirectly) suggest that he sees Alli as a more viable replacement for him than Emre Can. If that's not the case, why is he 'disappointed' that Liverpool failed to seal the deal when he was 'coming to the end'? At that point, the Reds already had Can in the squad.

Emre Can is similar to Alli in some ways (position/height etc), and statistically, there's not much difference between the two (in the Premier League):

* Can wins a slightly higher percentage of tackles, aerial/ground duels; has higher passing accuracy, and has created a couple more chances (13 vs. 12, though Can has played 150 minutes more than Alli).

* Alli is more effective going forward (more goals; better shooting accuracy; more shots on target etc), and is also slightly ahead on blocks, recoveries, interceptions, and clearances (BRICs).

Like Can, Alli is a little overrated, and in my view, Liverpool can do better than both of them. One thing's for sure: neither player (from what I've seen) is capable of emulating Steven Gerrard.

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Author: Jaimie K


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