Emre Can’s 2016-17 season has been one of struggle, both on and off the pitch, with the player’s form dropping and his development appearing to take a step back just when many thought he’d be taking the next step forward in his career. Meanwhile, contract talks have stalled and there is uncertainty about his Liverpool future.
With that as the background, Can turned in something of a perplexing performance against Burnley, one of Liverpool’s worst players for much of the match but also the man who salvaged two points, turning a draw into a victory with his 61st minute strike in the second half. Jürgen Klopp, at least, chose to focus on the positive.
"He had a few problems with his calf in the last few months which we couldn't sort quickly because sometimes he had it and sometimes not," Klopp said, identifying Can’s injury issues as the culprit behind the midfielder’s recent middling form when asked by reporters which player he expected to see from here on out.
The good news for both fans and Klopp, then, will be that apparently Can is now fully fit. That does make his struggles throughout most of the match yesterday a little more difficult to write off, but if he’s only now at full health, then perhaps they can be excused as the mistakes of a player who isn’t quite at full match fitness.
"We had a lot of specialists look at it to try to find out,” added the Liverpool manager as he discussed Can’s calf issues. “We couldn't say just go on holiday for four weeks and see if it gets better, we couldn't do that, but it looks like we have found the solution now and so he doesn't have the problems any more."
So. More goals like his long distance second half strike and less of the turnovers and poor marking of the first half. Sounds like a plan. Not to mention it’s something Liverpool will desperately need following news that Jordan Henderson remains out and is now set to miss the match against Manchester City.