At the beginning of the campaign, if Liverpool fans had been asked to name automatic starters for the upcoming season, Emre Can would have been mentioned frequently.
But seven games in, the German has yet to start in the Premier League and has had his spot at the base of midfield usurped by skipper Jordan Henderson.
The Englishman has shone in the controlling role, with Gini Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana either side – and it’s those three that have the positions in Jurgen Klopp’s first choice midfield for now.
Can though is confident that by working hard he’ll eventually get his chance.
“I am a very, very bad watcher!” the No.23 told Liverpoolfc.com.
“Of course I’m always happy when my team wins, but it’s always different when you play.
“I have to work hard. I have to get fitness back. If I get game time – which is always different to training – I have to work hard on my game and get confidence again.
“That’s very important for me. I haven’t played so many minutes this season but of course my target is to play a lot of minutes again.
“It is always better to play and be on the pitch. For me, it has been a little bit unlucky so far this season because I came back a little bit late and had a very short break after the Euros.
“Then I came back and got an injury. The team did very well and then I came back and it was not easy to get back into the team.
“Now I have to continue the work, I have to work hard. And I am confident enough that if I am ready and fit, I will play one day.”
Can may get his chance very soon actually, with Lallana injured and potentially missing our next fixture with Manchester United in eight days’ time.
He didn’t get selected for international duty by Germany, so has been with Klopp at Melwood, honing his game.
If Lallana can’t play at Anfield against our bitter rivals, expect Can to come in as anchorman with Henderson moving slightly forward into Adam’s usual role.