Emre Can has made a shock recovery from an ankle injury that was expected to end his season, and could start for Liverpool against Villarreal.
Can was forced to withdraw during the Reds’ Europa League quarter-final second-leg win over Borussia Dortmund, and was deemed unlikely to return before the end of the season.
But as the Reds prepare for a must-win clash at home to Villarreal in the semi-finals of Europe’s second-tier tournament on Thursday night, Jurgen Klopp could call upon his compatriot as part of his starting lineup.
The 22-year-old rejoined first-team training on Monday afternoon, and according to the Express‘s Paul Joyce, now faces a race to prove his fitness.
Can’s return would provide a major boost to Liverpool’s hopes of reaching the Europa League final.
Klopp has kept his faith in the likes of Joe Allen, James Milner and Lucas Leiva in the absence of Can and fellow first-choice midfielder Jordan Henderson, with Cameron Brannagan and Pedro Chirivella available in reserve.
But as Can’s vital intervention during the Reds’ 4-3 win at home to Dortmund in the quarter-finals proved—breaking up play in the middle of the park before laying the ball through for Divock Origi to score Liverpool’s first of the night—the German is a crucial player.
Can is said to be facing a fight to prove to Klopp that he is fit to feature against Villarreal, with the 48-year-old loathe to risk his young star despite the importance of the tie.
But fielding a player as determined as Can could be an advantage, with the Reds needing to score at least two goals to reach a final clash with either Sevilla or Shakhtar Donetsk.