Emre Can's desire to reclaim a place in the Liverpool team is only increased by the midfielder's admission that he is a 'very, very bad watcher!' from the bench.
Circumstances conspired against the 22-year-old during the summer as a delayed return to pre-season due to his participation at Euro 2016 was followed by an unfortunate ankle injury.
With the Reds in impressive form to kick off the season – chalking up seven wins out of nine in all competitions – Can’s opportunities to stake his own claim have been limited.
It is a situation the German international is eager to change and he intends to use the lengthy build-up to the meeting with Manchester United to catch the eye at Melwood.
“I am a very, very bad watcher!” the No.23 admits with a smile in a chat with Liverpoolfc.com.
“Of course I’m always happy when my team wins, but it’s always different when you play.”
Can continues: “I have to work hard. I have to get fitness back. If I get game time – which is always different to training – I have to work hard on my game and get confidence again.
“That’s very important for me. I haven’t played so many minutes this season but of course my target is to play a lot of minutes again.
“It is always better to play and be on the pitch. For me, it has been a little bit unlucky so far this season because I came back a little bit late and had a very short break after the Euros.
“Then I came back and got an injury. The team did very well and then I came back and it was not easy to get back into the team.
“Now I have to continue the work, I have to work hard. And I am confident enough that if I am ready and fit, I will play one day.”
Watch part one of this interview with Emre Can on LFCTV GO
A subtle switch in the centre of the pitch has proved particularly profitable for Liverpool this term, with Adam Lallana dropping deeper to join captain Jordan Henderson and summer signing Georginio Wijnaldum in the middle.
The trio have gelled quickly and offer a platform for the attackers in front of them to thrive – as evidenced by the team’s haul of 26 goals from their nine fixtures so far.
“I see it and it works very well,” says Can. “You could see that in the last few games.
“Gini, Henderson and Lallana did very well and played good football. We have to continue that. If you look at the bench, we have a very, very strong bench and a very strong squad.”
So, is the team the star at Anfield at the moment?
Can believes so: “You can say it’s the secret. Off the pitch, everybody is a nice guy in the club.
“Sometimes we go out for dinner and I think that’s very important. You can see that in the games, we are friends off the pitch. It’s very important.”
The Reds are almost halfway through an enforced lull in their campaign, having extended their winning streak to five games with the 2-1 comeback victory at Swansea City last weekend.
Next on the schedule is one of the season’s biggest contests – the visit of United to Anfield.
Can has been with the club long enough to understand the importance of these clashes and hopes the extended preparation time can be beneficial for Jürgen Klopp’s men.
He adds: “Now we have a lot of training sessions before the Manchester United game, and we can do a lot of stuff.
“We have to do it, of course – we have to work hard. It is a little bit different to normal sessions because we can do more.
“Everybody is working really well here in the club, on and off the pitch. The manager has the staff behind the staff and everybody is very important for the team.
“We have to keep up the good work. We did very well in the last few weeks and you can see how strong we are. We have to continue that and work hard.”