Premier League: Liverpool host Southampton with revenge and top-four spot on their mind

Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp is confident he will convince in-form German international midfielder Emre Can to sign a new long-term contract at Liverpool.

Can scored a spectacular winning goal last Monday in a 1-0 victory at Watford that greatly improved Klopp's chances of leading Liverpool to a top-four finish in his first full season in charge at Anfield.

However, with one year remaining on his current deal, 23-year-old Can's form has attracted admiring glances from a number of rival clubs across Europe.

Klopp, preparing for an important home game against Southampton, is confident however Can will reject any external overtures and pledge his future to the club.

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (L) speaks to his players. AFP

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (L) speaks to his players. AFP

"After his bicycle kick, probably everyone wants him to stay," said Klopp.

"I think it is no secret how much I like Emre.

"He likes the club and that is a completely normal situation. We are in talks and there is absolutely no pressure, it is all good.

"It is two partners with big respect for each other.

"If we can keep good players that makes sense for development and he is one of these good players. I am quite positive."

Can’s late-season form has been helped by finally recovering from a persistent calf injury that plagued him for much of the campaign.


'Hard-working boy'

Klopp believed his goal at Watford was reward for his hard work in regaining full fitness.

"He's watched it on the iPad about 250 times," joked Klopp.

"The player scores a fantastic goal and we speak about him the week after.

"The goal was so important and so deserved. He is a hard-working boy, it was never any different. He always had a fantastic attitude which is what I liked most.

"The plan is to make a more simple goal in the next game.


"If you can do this it would make sense. Against Crystal Palace he had a chance with one of the best offensive moves we had and he hit the ball with his heel -- that's football.

"We have spoken about his calf issues and they are hopefully finally sorted so that helps him."

Klopp is optimistic Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho will recover from a hamstring injury in time for Liverpool to face Southampton for the fourth time this season.

The German manager is looking to improve on a record that has seen them fail to score -- and exit the League Cup semi-finals -- over the three previous meetings.

"Yesterday (Thursday) was the first time for Phil running -- good news," said Klopp.

"We cannot be 100 per cent sure but at this moment it looks rather positive."

Southampton showed all the signs of a team running down the clock to the end of the season during last weekend's scoreless home draw with struggling Hull City.

The final whistle of that game was met by boos from Southampton supporters who had also expressed their displeasure at manager Claude Puel's earlier decision to substitute Manolo Gabbiadini.

Puel acknowledged the fans' frustrations and admitted the performance had been poor but has dismissed reports his position is under threat.

"I came here for a project, to continue this work to improve all these young players," Puel said.

"Many players have become starting players this year, like Maya Yoshida, Oriol Romeu, Jack Stephens; so it's important to continue this role and keep building the future of Southampton.

"I've been surprised to see these reports, because it seems for me it has been an interesting season with many games."


Published Date: May 07, 2017 04:15 pm | Updated Date: May 07, 2017 04:15 pm


Also See