Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said he is "100 per cent sure" the Reds will not sell central midfielder Emre Can this summer but admitted the Germany international's contract standoff with the club is frustrating.
Per Paul Joyce in The Times, Can has now entered the final year of his current deal and has been regularly linked with Juventus, but Liverpool would rather run the risk of losing him for free next year than sell him before the close of the current transfer window.
Klopp revealed talks are ongoing with the 23-year-old over new terms and insisted Can is not agitating to move elsewhere, per Joyce:
"We are still in talks. Do I think it is too cool that we didn't fix it so far? No, to be honest. But it is all OK at the moment and we have to take it like this. His mind is not elsewhere. It is an important contract for him at his age.
"I am 100 per cent sure that we don't sell the player now in this situation. He will play here for the next year, that is for sure. All the rest we have to see...The situation is not perfect, I would prefer that he has already signed. But I am still positive that we can find the right solution."
Can has previously insisted his delay in signing a new contract at Anfield is not about money but "about the future," per The Independent's Ian Herbert.
It is likely he wants assurances of a first-team role. As noted by Herbert, he struggled to maintain a place in the starting XI last term when Jordan Henderson was fit.
Can started Liverpool's Premier League season-opener against Watford on Saturday—which they draw 3-3—alongside Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum in midfield.
He can be an effective presence in the middle of the park and is a fan favourite at Anfield, not least because of his spectacular goal against the Hornets late last season:
B/R Football @brfootball
Emre Can has officially received the Goal of the Season Award for his acrobatic effort against Watford 🔥 https://t.co/8e6K4ed5ST2017-8-10 12:14:54
However, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana were both missing from Klopp's squad for Saturday's game, and should return in due course, meaning Can could be benched.
It is unlikely he will be happy with such a scenario, and his contract standoff has the potential to linger on if he is not given assurances about his importance to the side.