Liverpool are in danger of losing “a great player” in Emre Can, says Hoffenheim star Dennis Geiger, who considers the Reds midfielder to be the best he has come up against.
The Reds have so far been unable to tie the versatile 24-year-old down to fresh terms, meaning that he continues to head towards free agency.
A frustrating saga for those at Anfield has unsurprisingly sparked plenty of speculation as to where Can will be playing his football next season, with leading sides from across Europe keeping a close eye on his situation.
Serie A giants Juventus have led the chase for a sought-after signature, but Manchester United have also been linked while a return to Bayern Munich – the place where it all began for Can – has been mooted.
He could, therefore, be lining up in the Bundesliga again in the not too distant future, which would place the Germany international back in direct competition with Hoffenheim starlet Geiger.
The teenage midfielder has faced Can before in European competition and told Goal when asked to name his most difficult opponent to date: “I played against Emre Can in Champions League qualification and he really impressed me.
“He is very athletic, goes into the box whenever it's possible and has a great technique. For me he is a great player.”
Liverpool faced Hoffenheim at the play-off stage of the 2017-18 Champions League.
The Reds recorded a 6-3 aggregate success, with Can netting two of their goals in a 4-2 second leg victory at Anfield which carried Jurgen Klopp’s side through.
Geiger added on that experience, with the 19-year-old enjoying a breakthrough campaign at Hoffenheim: “We lost and the game did not run how we expected, but I will never forget it.
“It was a great experience and the atmosphere at Anfield was incredible. I tried to absorb every moment of the game.”
While Geiger and Hoffenheim fell at the first hurdle in continental competition, Liverpool have embarked on a memorable run.
Play-off success took them into the group stage, and from there they have gone on to dispose of Porto in the last-16 and now hold a commanding 3-0 lead over Premier League rivals Manchester City in a heavyweight quarter-final clash.