After enduring a disrupted start to last season, Emre Can feels fit and ready to hit the ground running in 2017-18.
The last two pre-seasons have seen Can report for club duty later than the majority of his Liverpool teammates due to his international commitments with Germany.
However, unlike 12 months ago - when he did not consider himself to be in peak condition and then sustained an injury in the early weeks of the campaign - Can is satisfied with his preparations this time around, having featured in four friendlies in the last two weeks.
“We will see if I’m at 100 per cent, but I feel in good shape and really I am looking forward to the season very much,” the 23-year-old midfielder told Liverpoolfc.com.
“Hopefully when I play I will bring good performances for the team and I hope that everybody brings a good performance to help us win the game.”
A question on whether he is hoping for more luck when it comes to injuries this term elicited an open and frank answer from Can.
“Hopefully. It was not the best start last year, to be honest. I was not properly fit and I came back late and I got an injury - it was not perfect,” he admitted.
“Then I came back again and the team played very well so it was difficult to go into the team, but now is, I think, different. I think I have to look forward and I don’t have to think about that. I have to enjoy playing football again and then hopefully I’ll start better than last year.”
Exclusive: We speak with Emre on the eve of the new season
One Liverpool player whose campaign will be affected by injury is Adam Lallana, with the England international set to miss the first couple of months of 2017-18 due to a thigh problem.
Lallana’s enforced absence is something that disappoints Can, but the No.23 is determined to help fill the void temporarily left by his teammate.
“Of course Adam is a very important player for us. He’s a very good player for us, but now us midfield players have to step up, everybody has to step up,” he explained.
“Everybody has a different style to Adam, how he plays, but everybody has to show themselves and fight for the team. Hopefully he will come back soon. He’s a fantastic player, really, and I think we will miss him.”
Saturday’s Premier League opener at Watford precedes the first leg of Liverpool’s Champions League qualifying play-off tie with Hoffenheim by just three days.
But, after a season without European football at Anfield, Can is relishing the extra workload ahead in the new campaign.
“Everybody’s looking forward to this season, everybody wants to play in the Champions League, of course. We’re against Hoffenheim now, against a German team again, [and] it will be a very difficult game,” he said.
“I know Hoffenheim from last year, they played really well and it’ll be a very tough game but our target is to win those games and to play in the Champions League.”