Liverpool midfielder Emre Can has denied he can become a long-term replacement for departing captain Steven Gerrard despite his impressive performances in his maiden season in English football.
Though originally signed as a midfielder, the Germany Under-21 international has performed a defensive role of late for the Reds, earning rave reviews for his calmness on the ball amid the club's unbeaten league run stretching back to December 2014.
Upon the departure of Gerrard to Los Angeles Galaxy in the summer, Can's opportunities in the middle are likely to become more regular but Liverpool fans expecting the ex-Bayern Munich man to replicate the outgoing skipper's performances could be disappointed.
"The coach [Brendan Rodgers] knows that I prefer the role in midfield and that I see myself there in the future," Can told Bild. "But as great as the comparisons to Steven Gerrard sound, I can never be like him.
"He has been playing for Liverpool since his childhood and already is a living legend. I am Emre Can and will go my own way. To achieve a career like Gerrard has done would be a dream, but it's far from easy."
Since losing to Manchester United before Christmas, Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 11 league games and they beat champions Manchester City on 1 March to keep in touch in the race for the top four.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has been heavily praised for adapting the team's formation to a 3-5-2 system, with Can a pivotal figure on the right side of the back three, despite being out of position, but the player is happy to fulfil the role.
"I wouldn't really call myself a right-back," he said. "It is demanded that I have an attacking approach, and also get involved in the build-up play.
"Indeed, the position was a surprise to me at first. I had never played it before, and feel more at home in midfield. But during my youth I also played at centre-back. Maybe that's why adjusting wasn't that difficult."