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Sunday 20 May 2018

Klopp focused on Hammers clash not Can contract

Liverpool’s Emre Can. Pic: Reuters
Liverpool’s Emre Can. Pic: Reuters

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he will not put pressure on midfielder Emre Can to sign a new contract despite the threat of him leaving in the summer increasing.

The Germany international has just seven months remaining on his current deal and, with negotiations at an impasse, there is the possibility, as Juventus are heavily linked with an approach, he could sign a pre-contract agreement with a European club in January.

"What could I do now? I could say 'Yes, it is a big problem', but it isn't," said Klopp.

"I could say it is a big problem which we have to resolve now and put pressure on the player, put pressure on the club, but it makes no sense.

"We have to respect his contract is ending and that is how it is.

"I've said it a few times and I'll say it again: it is our job to make this club as exciting as possible.

"He is also allowed to sign a contract (with Liverpool) in May as a player who is still already here. I have no problem with that.

"As long as Emre doesn't give me one sign his mind is somewhere else I don't have to talk about this, it is a normal thing in football."

Asked about January's opening of the transfer window, and Can's ability to strike a deal with a European club, Klopp added: "That is part of football. If it happens like this we can't change it.

"If a player (belonging to another club) is ending his contract next summer and he is good then we should try to do the same so that is an opportunity for all of us."

Midfielder Philippe Coutinho will miss their Premier League trip to West Ham United this evening, but forward Sadio Mane could make a return at the London Stadium, according to Klopp.

Coutinho is set to miss his third consecutive match with a thigh problem, while Mane trained with the first-team squad on Thursday for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury on international duty last month.

"Phil is not available," Klopp said. "With the rest, it will be close.

"Sadio trained for the first time with the team (on Thursday) and looked really, really good.

"He looks like he's ready for 20-25 minutes but we have to wait and see how his body reacts from Thursday's session.

"It was pretty intense for him as it was his first football session for a long time but he did really well."

Despite his injury, Mane was included in Senegal manager Aliou Cisse's 25-man squad for their final round of World Cup qualifiers against South Africa on November 10 and November 14.

Klopp said he has no problem with the call-up but he would like Mane to be rested for the second match if the African nation secure their place at Russia 2018.

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