Jurgen Klopp thinks that Xherdan Shaqiri has so far not fulfilled his enormous potential, but that at Liverpool, the Swiss can become the elite player his talent allows.
As a youngster at Bayern Munich, Shaqiri was earmarked as an exceptional prodigy, but he didn’t get enough minutes, left for Inter – and then Stoke – for whom he battled relegation with for three seasons.
Klopp’s suggested the 27-year-old perhaps didn’t make the best career decisions before joining Liverpool, but reckons under his guidance, Shaqiri can become truly special.
“I don’t think anybody has an idea in the moment how good Shaq can be,” he told the official website. “It’s not a criticism, it’s just how it is. I knew him when he was 19 at Bayern and he was already an outstanding talent.
“You can disappear a bit. Inter Milan and then Stoke. Thank God, he didn’t disappear. He always had his moments. When I asked for us to cut a few scenes of Shaqiri, nobody said, ‘Come on, Shaqiri? Really?’
“Signing him was a logical thing to do. He’s still not the finished article. He still has a lot of space for improvement and that’s really good. He gives us something different. So far we haven’t really used his set-pieces but they are outstanding.”
Shaqiri has three assists already, despite being somewhat underused by the boss.
But following his masterclass against Red Star, it’s going to be very hard for Klopp to leave Shaqiri out of his strongest XI.
Versus Cardiff today, hopefully the playmaker will allowed to revel in a free role ahead of a midfield double pivot.