Liverpool midfielder Emre Can came on as a second-half substitute as Germany held on for a 3-2 win over Australia in the Confederations Cup.
Joachim Low’s side took on their Group B opponents at Fisht Stadium in Sochi on Monday afternoon, looking to keep up the pace with leaders Chile.
Goals from Arturo Vidal and Eduardo Vargas gave the South Americans a 2-0 win over Cameroon the previous evening, putting early pressure on Low’s strong squad.
Despite the omission of a host of key names in Russia, Low still opted to start without Can, with Joshua Kimmich preferred at right-back and Sebastian Rudy, Leon Goretzka and Lars Stindl in midfield.
The first half got off to a great start for Germany, with Stindl firing home after a cutback from former Reds target Julian Brandt after just five minutes.
Celtic midfielder Tom Rogic levelled the scores against the run of play, before a penalty kick from Julian Draxler ensured Germany went into the break 2-1 up.
The impressive Goretzka burst forward to put breathing space between the two sides on 48 minutes, but an error from goalkeeper Bernd Leno allowed Australia back eight minutes later through Tomi Juric.
Can took Stindl’s place with 12 minutes on the clock, taking up an advanced midfield role.
The 23-year-old looked bright, attempting to force another goal with energetic pressing play and bright, incisive work in the final third, but referee Mark Geiger blew for full-time with the scores at 3-2.
This is the third consecutive summer that Can has spent representing Germany at a major tournament, with the former Bayern Munich youth consistently relied upon by his country.
It is likely, therefore, that he will return late for Liverpool’s pre-season preparations once again.
Last summer, after the European Championship in France, Can made his first warmup outing for the Reds at the beginning of August, joining the squad on their tour of the United States.
He is currently yet to agree a contract extension with the Reds, despite having just one year left on his deal, with Juventus believed to be interested.
Reports in Italy recently claimed Can had agreed a new five-year, £100,000-a-week package, but these are suggested to be wide of the mark.
With Can having made a strong impact in the second half of 2016/17, including scoring Liverpool’s Goal of the Season against Watford in May, concluding talks should be a priority.
This is unlikely to be the case until after the Confederations Cup, however, with Can’s next opportunity to feature coming against Chile on June 22.
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