Sometimes, an awful game is blessed with a righteous goal.
It’s inexplicable. And karmically unjust. But this is why we can’t entirely check out of even the worst soccer matches. You never know quite when Emre Can is going to pull an insane bicycle kick out of his bag.
Like he did in injury time of the first half at Watford on Monday, finally putting Liverpool ahead in a crucial match for the Reds to hang onto third place in the Premier League, which they would win 1-0.
In an otherwise unwatchable game, Lucas Leiva floated a ball towards the penalty spot that the German midfielder ran onto.
And then, well, there’s no use in trying to describe it. He did this …
Until then, Liverpool had been deeply frustrated by its hosts, who were clearly playing for the point that would lift Watford from 13th to 11th place.
It was shaping up to be a frustrating night for the Reds. Philippe Coutinho had to leave with an injury in the 10th minute. Roberto Firmino was called for the rare foul throw. And Lucas was booked for the saddest of failed flops.
Amazingly, though, this was Liverpool’s second attempt at a wonder goal. In the 41st minute, Adam Lallana latched onto a looping ball at the edge of the box, punched out to him by Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes. The England international returned it in spectacular fashion with a one-time volley, but it slammed off the underside of the bar.
Liverpool would hang on for all three points, in spite of a late scare when Sebastian Prodl almost stole a tie with a long rocket. But Jurgen Klopp’s Reds deserve the win only on style points from Lallana’s volley and Can’s game-winning magic.
“I never scored a goal like that,” Can said coolly after the game. “I saw the space and I run behind. It was just, I didn’t think too much. I think it’s the best goal that I ever scored. But the most important thing was we got three points.”
But only that goal redeemed the game to the viewer.
Leander Schaerlaeckens is a soccer columnist for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @LeanderAlphabet.