Can refuses to look back in anger as Liverpool grow in confidence
Published 22/09/2016 | 02:30
Such has been the force of Liverpool's "football from hell" - a phrase coined by Jurgen Klopp - that modest hope has metamorphosed into lofty aspiration on Merseyside this week.
Klopp himself might be making a concerted effort to quell early-season excitement but his Reds have already brushed aside title rivals Arsenal, Leicester and Chelsea while also picking up a decent point at Tottenham thus far this term.
The one blot on their copybook remains the surrender to Burnley on the second weekend of the new Premier League campaign. After overwhelming Championship side Derby County in the third-round of the EFL Cup on Tuesday, talk turned again to that afternoon in Lancashire.
Emre Can, the German midfielder who returned from an ankle injury at the iPro Stadium, was an unused substitute for the Burnley defeat a month ago.
"I don't think we have to think about the game against Burnley as it was in the past," he said in the corridors of Derby's East Midlands home. "Now we have to show ourselves in the future. It happens ... we lost the game."
A blunt answer to a question loaded with sub-plot. Liverpool have long been accused of turning up for the big occasions but skipping their duties for the less glamorous jaunts. Hull City, another newly-promoted outfit, visit Anfield this weekend in the League, representing another banana skin for Klopp's men.
"We want to keep the momentum going and we want to win the game," Can says. Another concise retort. Can, just 22 years old although seeming older, has been at Liverpool for two seasons now and knows that careless talk can cost points.
His start to the new term has been curtailed by a twist of his ankle sustained during the 5-0 rout of Burton Albion in the second-round of the EFL Cup. Klopp is known to be a fan of his talents but Jordan Henderson and Co have coped magnificently without requiring his services in the centre.
"They have done it well," Can says. "Adam [Lallana], Hendo and Gini [Marko Grujic] have played well together and you can see by the results and the good football. I saw it myself as I play with them and I was very happy for them."
Pre-season ambitions are often adjusted in symmetry with early form as summer becomes autumn and Liverpool are no different. Manchester City, under Klopp's old adversary Pep Guardiola, are opening a chasm at the summit.
But Can is confident he and his team-mates have the stamina to wait it out for when they drop the ball at the Etihad.
"We have confidence. We have a very strong squad and if you play for Liverpool you the target always has to be to get silverware but we have to show from game to game and we will see at the end of the season."