After starting the Reds’ last three league games, Emre Can is pleased to be back playing, and has also backed his German teammate Loris Karius, describing the 23-year-old as “a very, very good goalkeeper”.
Karius has not made the most convincing of starts in a Reds shirt since usurping Simon Mignolet as first-choice in September, but despite a few iffy moments, some of the criticism that has come the German’s way has been hyperbolic, with the former Mainz stopper still adjusting to life in England.
Can has praise his teammate and compatriot, saying he fully expects Karius to be a long-term success story on Merseyside.
“Of course we speak a lot because we are from the same country,” Can told the Liverpool Echo.
“I knew Loris already from playing together for the national team many years ago.
“He’s a great lad and a very, very good goalkeeper.
“It’s a little bit different here from the Bundesliga but he’s well aware of that. I think he’s been doing very well so far and the fact that he kept a clean sheet recently against Manchester United is a big thing.
“It is the same if an outfield player scores a goal in that it helps your confidence. If a goalkeeper doesn’t concede, that will help him.
“As soon as I saw him (after he signed for Liverpool), I said that he just had to play with the confidence that he played with in the Bundesliga, because I saw a lot of his matches with Mainz and could only say positive things about him. I saw that he’s a very good goalkeeper.
“Our attacking football starts for the goalkeeper. We are a team that wants to play and Loris is a good footballer with the ball at his feet so that’s very important to us.”
Can also discussed his own form, following a much-improved showing at Crystal Palace on Saturday, in which he scored his first Liverpool goal in eight months.
The 22-year-old says he is getting back to his best after an injury-plagued start to the season.
“It’s been difficult because I came to the pre-season a little bit later after the Euros,” he added.
“So I needed to work on my fitness, and then when I was almost ready I got an injury so was out for a while. The team did very well while I was out but I played my first 90 minutes against United and I am happy to be back.
“Now I have to get my match fitness and confidence back, but I am really looking forward to that and I’m confident enough to believe that if I have those things I can play in the team.
“It was good being back because it’s a strange feeling when you are on the sidelines. Of course you’re always happy when your team wins but the other side is that I’m not a good watcher!
“It’s a much better feeling when you are playing and contributing to the team and I’m certainly enjoying it more now that I’m back out on the pitch.”
Both Can and Karius have huge potential, but given their tender years, patience is required with the German duo.
More consistency will come as they mature in the coming years, but Jurgen Klopp trusts in both for a reason.
It is easy to think of Can, in particular, as an established player by now, but he is still learning his trade at the top level.