Jurgen Klopp has taken time to discuss the exceptional rise of Xherdan Shaqiri.
There was little fanfare during the summer when we secured the Swiss maestro for just £13m; perhaps because he had just been relegated with Stoke – but his performances this term have been sublime.
He’s already scored six goals and registered three assists in the Premier League, including a match-winning brace against Manchester United mid-December.
According to the boss though, Liverpool had to tweak formation to accommodate Shaqiri, who didn’t have the defensive nous to immediately play in one of the midfield positions in last term’s 4-3-3.
Interestingly though, Klopp suggested he could eventually fulfil a midfield position, much like Coutinho did before his departure.
“We did have to find a position for (Shaqiri),” Klopp told Sky Sports in an interview with Gary Neville. “That’s a pretty good one, we tried it in a 4-3-3, he can’t play there yet as a half-space midfielder.
“You don’t want to force a player into a position, you want to show his strengths, not where he isn’t good.
“Xherdan’s main quality is obviously offensive – creating, shooting, finishes, being between the lines – and in a half-space position, there is a lot of defensive work.
“He can do that and he gets better day by day and maybe one day, he could play it like Phil [Coutinho] could play it in the last half year he was here.”
Shaqiri has been so good that the calls for a playmaker to arrive at Anfield have subsided.
With Roberto Firmino recently reverting to a no.10 role, there isn’t an obvious spot in the starting XI for a new attacking midfielder.
With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain set to return from injury at the end of February, for perhaps the first time in memory, there are no additions necessarily required anywhere.