Jurgen Klopp lavished praise on Xherdan Shaqiri after the Swiss maestro’s mesmerising debut performance against Manchester United.
Not only did the 26-year-old score a world-class goal, but he assisted Daniel Sturridge’s effort and was arguably the best player on the pitch after he came on at half-time.
For £13m, it looks like Shaqiri could be a serious bargain, especially if he can perform in a central role like he did in Michigan.
Jurgen Klopp agrees…
“That’s not normal after four days in the club – adapting that well to the style of play,” Klopp told Sky Sports.
“We wanted to help him a little bit with the position so that it’s not too complicated, gave him a lot of freedom, offensively playing natural, plus offering runs in behind, which is what he did, especially around the Sturridge goal.
“It was better than I would have expected, to be honest. I think today it was a game where it was quite easy to come in for pretty much all of them because we played over 90 minutes of really good football on a very difficult pitch for both teams.
“We still played simple and quick, kept them moving. After the Dortmund game [a 3-1 defeat last Sunday], I didn’t feel really good but I knew I don’t have to make it bigger than it is.
“It’s a pre-season game so if you make mistakes you should lose – if you learn from it that’s okay. Today we don’t make it bigger of course.
“For Shaq, in the moment he signed he wanted to stay immediately at Liverpool and train with us. I think it was a week after he finished the World Cup, so I said: ‘No, no, no. Go!’
“He came back a few days ago and he was really excited. For him it was a very good moment in his career, having already had a real experience at Bayern, at Stoke, at Inter.”
Shaqiri has immense levels of talent, but arguably didn’t show it at Stoke, under managers like Paul Lambert and Mark Hughes.
Klopp though is a level above and will hopefully bring the best out of the attacker.
We reckon we’ll see Shaqiri in multiple positions in 2018/19. He can play as a roaming no.8, given licence to attack and create, but also as a winger in one of Sadio Mane or Mo Salah’s positions if our two best players are out.