Toure backs Can to become king of the kop

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Liverpool defender Kolo Toure has backed Emre Can to be a long-term success at the Merseyside club following his recent run of form.

Kolo Toure believes Liverpool team-mate Emre Can has what it takes to develop into a key player at Anfield.

Can was signed from Bayer Leverkusen in the close-season as a midfielder but, after injuries hampered his start at the Merseyside club, he is now enjoying a run in the starting XI as part of a three-man defence.

The Germany Under-21 international's inclusion in the team has coincided with a run of form that has seen Liverpool lose just three of their last 28 games in all competitions.

"Emre is a top player," Toure told the Liverpool Echo. "He has been playing outstandingly at the back and in midfield he is a very strong player. We like him here.

"He is from Germany and German players are really good and I am not surprised about how well he's doing. They learn football at an early age and they are really intelligent, tactically outstanding and are really strong.

"I am not surprised how he has been doing because he has been working hard in training and he is a top professional. He is a young player but really good.

"He is a leader. When you are on the pitch you can see by the way he plays he is really confident and he talks on the pitch as well.

"There is no doubt this boy is going to be a king here definitely because he is a top player and can make a difference in games. He can score goals and his work-rate is amazing - there is no better player."

Can has helped Liverpool climb to fifth in the Premier League, while they also have an FA Cup quarter-final replay against Blackburn Rovers on the agenda, with the winners facing Aston Villa at Wembley in the last four.