Jurgen Klopp was able to welcome Adam Lallana back from injury against Watford, as Liverpool continued their pursuit of a top-four finish and a Champions League spot.
The England midfielder hadn’t featured for the Reds since March, following a thigh injury suffered while with the Three Lions, and Klopp would have been glad to get another one of his stars back to full fitness.
There are still no guarantees about Liverpool’s top-four chances, even if they win all of their remaining games, and Lallana’s return to the squad alongside the likes of fellow key men Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum was hugely welcomed by Klopp.
When Lallana started the game from the bench, the German would have been hoping to introduce the 28-year-old back into the team later in the game. However, a crucial injury to Coutinho forced the Englishman into an early appearance in the 13th minute.
It’s a substitution that even Lallana wouldn’t have wished for – considering how crucial Coutinho is to the Reds.
As one key man has returned, Klopp could potentially face another selection headache ahead of their game against Southampton, with Coutinho appearing to have picked up a knock to his thigh during a collision with Adrian Mariappa.
In Coutinho’s absence, his compatriot, Firmino, would normally be expected to step up and be the difference for Liverpool. However, on a relatively quiet night for the Brazilian, it was Emre Can who proved to be the decisive man and provide the only goal of the game in audacious fashion.
CAN STUNS WATFORD FAITHFUL
The German midfielder scored a Goal of the Season contender to secure the Reds a 1-0 win at Vicarage Road and open up a four-point gap over fifth-placed Manchester United who boast a game in hand.
A moment of brilliance from Lucas provided the perfect ball for Can to produce an overhead kick any player would be proud of, which looped over the helpless Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.
EMRE CAN HAS JUST SCORED THE GOAL OF THE SEASON!!! 😂 🌟
🎥 SKY SPORTS pic.twitter.com/bdAUzdKqjK
— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) May 1, 2017
And the German’s world-class finish was enough to seal a win despite Sebastian Prodl causing a late scare when his injury-time strike hit the bar.
KLOPP PRAISES MATCH-WINNING GOAL
But regardless of Watford’s near equaliser, Can was the talking point after the game, and Klopp was quick to praise the match winner and Lucas for his excellent floated ball into the box.
“We started well, but had to change with Phil. The goal was spectacular, as was the pass,” said Klopp.
Klopp: "We started well, but had to change with Phil. The goal was spectacular, as was the pass."
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) May 1, 2017
Can’s wonder strike could potentially prove to be the difference in Liverpool returning to the Champions League. But it remains to be seen whether the Reds’ costly defeat at home to Crystal Palace last weekend will deny them a return to Europe’s elite club competition.