The number of times Liverpool fans have watched Emre Can’s goal back has undoubtedly gone way into double figures by now.
It was utterly sublime and had the emphatic knee slide celebration to match. The strike marked an incredible turnaround for a man who not long ago had been tipped as a potential summer departure amidst on-going contract negotiations.
Recent performances have reaffirmed just how important his power and athleticism can be in this team, seemingly making it impossible for Jurgen Klopp to consider dropping him- even when he is injured.
“If you’re not positive [about Can] after this game, this goal, then something is wrong! Yes, he is a good boy, he helps us. I know how it works. He had a problem with his calf but we had no possibility to leave him out, it was not possible for us,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com.
“We had a lot of talks about this, and everybody saw the performances and thought ‘what’s wrong with him?’. We thought we needed him in these moments and he said ‘OK, I’ll try’. Sometimes it was not as good as it could have been, but meanwhile these problems are sorted and now he can build on his performances. He’s a physically strong boy and very important for us. If he can score goals like this then it makes even more sense!”
Playing through injury is something to be admired, especially during this decisive stage of the season. It’s the passionate and aggressive approach both tactically and physically that has seen Can begin to discover his true purpose.
His expertise at both ends of the pitch promise to allow Klopp to give him more freedom to continue his development into the box-to-box midfield asset Reds believe he is capable of becoming.
Last night’s winning goal represented him taking responsibility and aspiring to be a leader in this team. Being the main man in Liverpool’s midfield since Jordan Henderson was sidelined with injury appears to have done him the world of good.