Two minutes into stoppage time in the first half, after a frustrating 45-plus minutes of Liverpool failing to yet again break down another stubborn defense, Lucas Leiva picked up the ball, spotted the run of Emre Can, and chipped an optimistic ball up to the charging midfielder.
Liverpool had been waiting, begging, and—certainly in some cases—praying for a bit of magic to break the deadlock. And boy did it ever come, and from an unexpected source at that! Can met Lucas’s pass with a perfectly timed acrobatic jump and scissor kick, sending the ball perfectly into the top far corner. That goal was a worthy game-winner on the day, and ultimately helped Liverpool get over the line in the race to finish Top 4.
Up until that point in his career, Emre Can had scored just 6 goals in 84 Premier League appearances for Liverpool. Although Can was enjoying his most prolific goalscoring season to date, 4 goals was hardly something to write home about. His fifth goal though? No matter what he does from this point forward, that goal will be a career highlight.
Can already won Best Goal of the Season in the LFC Players’ Awards, and now has been recognized as the best strike during the entire 2016/17 Premier League campaign. The league-wide award was determined by fan voting (way to go, Liverpool faithful) and a panel of experts. Can’s goal beat out the combined 1,063 other goals scored by all teams across the 38-game schedule.
This spectacular goal will only be yet another bow in Can’s quiver when (please be “when” and not “if”) the two sides sit down to hammer out a new contract.