Jurgen Klopp believes that stalled contract negotiations between Liverpool and Emre Can are not the reason for the midfielder’s patchy form and suggests he’s keen to keep him, writes James Pearce in the Liverpool Echo.
Can’s current contract expires at the end of next season but his representatives are failing to make any headway over a new deal to keep him at Anfield.
At the same time, the Germany international has struggled for form this season, however his manager and compatriot says this is because of an ongoing injury to his calf rather than anxiety over his future.
Emre Can’s Premier League season so far
12 – Starts 3 – Goals 1 – Assists
“Maybe if he didn’t know what I think it would affect him but he knows what I want,” Klopp said.
Asked if the £10million signing from Bayer Leverkusen remained part of his long-term plans, Klopp added: “I speak to the players, not the press.
“If I say yes it puts pressure on the club to do it immediately. If I say no the player thinks I do not want him any more.
“Emre knows exactly what we want. That’s the only thing that matters.”
The 23-year-old endured a difficult start to the season following his late return to club duty after Euro 2016.
The midfielder has gone on to make 17 starts and eight substitute appearances for the Reds.
Can has come in for plenty of flak but he goes into Saturday’s Premier League clash at lowly Hull City on the back of a much improved performance in the midweek draw with Chelsea.
Klopp believes it’s no coincidence that Can’s display against the leaders coincided with him finally being injury free after playing through the pain barrier in recent weeks.
“Emre has for the first time had no problems with his calves,” Klopp added.
“We need him. In different parts of the game he is really consistent for us, and Chelsea was his best game for a few weeks, that is for sure.
“He has this calf issue which we are still looking into and trying to find out why. Is it his back? Is it his ankle?
“It lets him stay on the pitch but it makes him struggle a little bit. We could have said ‘stay off for two or three weeks’, but we don’t have a lot of options.
“We’ve tried to work on this while he is playing. It would be nice if we have now found the exact reason and the solution. Everyone could see the difference when he’s able to play without issues.”