Timo Werner is not one to shy away from self-judgement, and as we head towards the final quarter of the season the forward believes his form is improving after a tricky period.
Goals, assists, penalties won, missed chances, dry spells and a new manager – Werner’s start to life in English football has not been short of incident.
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He is a clearly a player who enjoys analysing the game, and his first move away from his native Germany has naturally provoked fresh dilemmas and different challenges. By his own admission a lean run in front of goal over much of the winter gave him plenty to reflect upon, but it also proved a time of education and self-improvement, as Werner has explained ahead of tonight’s game against Everton.
‘When you don’t score as a striker it’s very tough, and I never had it in my career before,’ he said.
‘It was tough for me because I want to help the team, and I want to score because that is my nature. After winning games, scoring goals is the most important thing. In this period, it didn’t work, but you have to learn from these situations.
‘You can learn more from bad situations than good situations. I learned a lot to trust in myself. I learned to not only think about goals but to give more on the pitch for the team, to fight more for the team defensively and help my team offensively as much as I can.
‘Of course it helps you a lot when a lot of good players and big strikers were also in those situations, but in the end you are in your own head, you are criticising yourself and thinking why doesn’t it work,’ he added.
‘I scored 28 goals last year, I came here and scored eight goals in my first 12 or 15 games here, so why did that period not work? I was doing the same as before, but as a striker you always have to have a little bit of luck.
‘Last year I had a bit of luck on my side, this year the luck is not on my side: I hit the bar and the post the most in the Premier League, I was five times offside with VAR by one centimetre…maybe next year somebody will put their feet back two centimetres and nobody will say anything!’
Werner could well be referring to an incident that happened as recently as Thursday night, when he was so cruelly denied the opening goal at Anfield by the barest of margins.
Despite that disappointment he kept causing the Liverpool backline problems and more than played his part in a superb away win.
‘You have to keep calm and keep on going,’ explained Werner, who turned 25 on Saturday.
‘A lot of good strikers come to the Premier League and take a year to settle down and adapt to the league. At the moment, under the new manager, maybe I don’t score so much, only one goal, but a lot of goals I was involved in with an assist or getting a penalty.
‘I think my form is going up, it is getting better and better. I hope this period is gone and I score a few more goals until the end of the season.’
Werner will be hoping to add to his nine goals for the season when Everton visit Stamford Bridge later. He recalls only too well how the defeat at Goodison Park in December initiated a stuttering run of form, but the recovery since then has pleased him and he hopes we can maintain our positive recent momentum with another vital victory.
‘Everton is a very dangerous team. We saw in the first half of the season when we played against them it was a very tough game.
‘They defend very good, they have very good players in offensive positions, very good strikers. They are hard to play against because they play very physically, and they have a good transition game.
‘It’s very close at the top when we talk about the Champions League places. They are a direct opponent for us and we have to win this game, and that’s how we will go into this game.’