When Emre Can hobbled out of our unfathomable comeback victory against Borussia Dortmund, reports everywhere, such as this one in the Guardian, claimed he was out for the season – and would be lucky to make the Euros with Germany.
But last night Can performed a jaw-dropping comeback of his own, regaining fitness in three weeks and starting against Villarreal in the Europa League semi-final.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, the 22-year-old was arguably the best player on the pitch – putting in a lung-busting, all-action performance which belied the fact he was just returning from an injury.
“I put in a lot of work,” Can told the ECHO.
“I didn’t have one day off in three weeks.
“Every day I was at Melwood for seven or eight hours, doing everything I could to get fit for this game.
“I am so happy that I could play. I only found earlier in the day that I would be starting.
“The manager spoke with me and asked me if I was fit. I told him I was ready.
“The injury wasn’t for long, it was only out for three weeks. I’d played 45 games before that this season. I’m fit and I have no pain.”
At the beginning of the season under Brendan Rodgers, Can wasn’t guaranteed a spot in the lineup, but he’s now established himself as our first-choice central midfielder. The fact Jurgen Klopp, who usually prefers not to risk players who’ve been out, started him in our biggest game of the season after an absence, proves this.
Can was sensational last night, and was singled out for praise by Jamie Carragher, who was impressed by his ability to win back possession, win 50/50s and start attacks from deep.
Fantastic performance by all but a special mention for Emre Can who was outstanding!
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) May 5, 2016
With James Milner playing so well last night too, the only question is who will partner Can in central midfield come the final. Much depends on the fitness of captain Jordan Henderson, and whether Klopp decides to go with two or three centrally.