After having been sidelined since the middle of March with a back injury that had also kept him out of international duty, Liverpool midfielder Emre Can was suddenly looking at perhaps playing in (or at least being available for) one last match for the Reds. And what a match that would have been - the Champions League final against Real Madrid in Kiev.
Those encouraging noises may have been mirages. Recent reports from the Liverpool Echo and the Telegraph suggest that Can is losing the race to be fit for Liverpool’s season finale. Those reports indicate that the midfielder, still presently in Germany for treatment, has received inconclusive results on his most recent scan, and is facing a rapidly narrowing window in which to gain match fitness, even if he’s allowed to resume training in the next week.
If that prognosis turns out to be accurate, Can will most likely play no role in the final. As his manager Jürgen Klopp previously stated when asked about Can’s fitness, “in the end you always need a doctor to tell you ‘now it’s fine.’” It will be a disappointing news for Liverpool, who are desperately short of fit midfielders, even with Adam Lallana back in the picture.
It also likely means that the last time Emre Can wore a Liverpool shirt in a competitive match - during a 5-0 victory over Watford in March - will probably also literally be his last appearance for Liverpool. Despite never having said anything conclusive, the midfielder is widely expected to run out his contract in the remaining weeks before signing for Serie A giants Juventus this summer.
All signs suggest a quiet end to what might have been a solid, if not exactly spectacular, Liverpool career.