Sunday 07


What’s Shaqiri’s problem at Liverpool?

20th September 2019, 15:19 by Aidan Perkins

When Liverpool signed Xherdan Shaqiri in summer 2018, it was seen as a smart piece of transfer business but the forward remains an enigma.

Clearly talented and an international stalwart for Switzerland, Shaqiri has, more often than not, had to settle for a place on the subs’ bench with Reds fans only able to see fleeting glimpses of what he can offer.

Plenty of observers are asking why the former Inter Milan, Bayern Munich and Basel man is getting so few chances under Jurgen Klopp at Anfield because, on the surface at least, he seems to be doing little wrong.

As expected, he had to wait for his chance last season but when he did get a regular run of games throughout the autumn and winter, he was reliably consistent and proved to be a matchwinner in big matches. Goals against Cardiff, Fulham, Burnley and a brace against arch-rivals Manchester United – after coming off the bench to turn the fixture in a 3-1 win – meant he was quickly a favourite on The Kop.

However, he didn’t kick on and, mysteriously, was back out of the side as quickly as he was in it despite no reports of injury. Further brief cameo appearances later in the season also underlined his quality, though, and he produced two crucial assists in the tense run-in against Newcastle and Barcelona, the latter coming in the famous Champions League comeback, to endear himself further to the Liverpool fans.

A summer hamstring strain and a further minor leg injury meant he didn’t return to pre-season training in top shape but the 27-year-old has been fully fit for well over a month yet is still being overlooked as the Merseysiders have made a good start to the season.

So why does Klopp seem so reluctant not to turn to the experienced forward, who can operate in a variety of positions?

On the face of it, it’s unclear but there is a nagging feeling Shaqiri neglects the defensive side of his game – so key to the way Klopp’s teams operate – and it looks like the German coach struggles to trust his £13million signing to do the dirty work.

Shaqiri has played a miniscule 25 minutes of first-team football in all competitions so far in 2019-20, having to settle for some late introductions in games when they’ve mostly already been won.

His comments in the past week that he feels “a little downbeat” at a lack of action underline what will be an obvious private frustration but he may be able to take some comfort from the fact he has actually been included in every one of Klopp’s matchday squads so far this season – even if he has only come on four times in total.

There’s no doubt, like during last winter, he will get some opportunities with the games coming at a pace over the coming months but Shaqiri will have to take his chances and then hope he does enough to convince Klopp he is worth a regular place in his side.

Because, if not, all parties could end up one day looking back on his Liverpool career with plenty of regret.

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Aidan Perkins is a senior journalist that specialises in football stories. Aidan, a Liverpool fan, also has a broad knowledge of several other sports.

More Liverpool

Recent Sport Headlines

Horse Racing

Nayef Road and Mildenberger earn Gold Cup chance

6th June 2020, 18:09

Mark Johnston enjoyed a one-two in the Sagaro Stakes at Newcastle with Nayef Road holding off the challenge of Mildenberger.

Horse Racing

Derby the obvious choice for Guineas hero

6th June 2020, 17:58

Kameko sprung a major surprise by landing the first British Classic of the year in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Horse Racing

King relishing Derby chance

5th June 2020, 17:52

Ed Walker is relishing the prospect of having a genuine Derby contender in his ranks and will not be taking any risks with English King.

Horse Racing

Gosden keeping Yoda options open

5th June 2020, 17:40

John Gosden admits there is no firm plan as yet for Miss Yoda after she overcame a difficult start to win the Oaks Trial Fillies Stakes at Lingfield.

Horse Racing

Cox remains Positive for Royal Ascot glory bid

4th June 2020, 11:54

Clive Cox has described stable star Positive as "far stronger" than last year as he gets set for the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Horse Racing

Sharing poised for Royal raid

3rd June 2020, 18:41

Breeders' Cup winner Sharing looks set to be sent across the Atlantic for this month's Royal Ascot meeting for a crack at the Coronation Stakes.

Horse Racing

Pinatubo leads 15-strong Guineas field

3rd June 2020, 13:45

The Charlie Appleby-trained Pinatubo will face 14 rivals when he goes for glory in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday.

Horse Racing

Fanning fancies Royal tilt

2nd June 2020, 18:08

Joe Fanning expects Army Of India to be heading to Royal Ascot after his victory at Kempton on Tuesday.