Despite claiming that the signing of Xherdan Shaqiri was “a stroke of genius,” former England striker and ESPN FC pundit, Paul Mariner, claims that the 27-year-old “had a bit of a fall out” with Jürgen Klopp last term.
A bargain arrival in the summer of 2018, the Shaqiri scored six goals for the Reds including a memorable brace against Manchester United; plus the assist for Divock Origi’s last-gasp winner at Newcastle, repeating the feat in our miraculous fightback against Barcelona at Anfield.
Now European Cup holders, Mariner was right to ask: “Where do you need to strengthen and how much are you going to spend to strengthen at the level that Liverpool, the European champions, want to be at?”
“Look at [Wilfried] Zaha, [Crystal Palace are] wanting £80m-odd for him, he’s never an £80m-odd player.
“So you’ve got to be strategic. Look what he did with picking up Shaqiri at £13m, it was a stroke of genius. [He didn’t play much in the second half of last season because] he had a bit of a fall out with him.
“But he came in and did some good things. Look at [Andy] Robertson, picking Robertson up was ridiculously good business.
“So players are out there, it’s all about your scouting network. Klopp must be confident with what he’s got in the building.”
We’re so lucky to have a squad player of Xherdan Shaqiri’s calibre and he comes with bags of experience. He’ll play an even bigger role next season considering the number of games we’ve got, need him at his very best. https://t.co/UzwOp0UCRg
— RF9 🇧🇷 (@SambaRole) July 13, 2019
We’re not sure how Mariner has this information and perhaps it’s merely conjecture, but there were fears that Klopp and Shaqiri had fallen out, which was used as an explanation for him not featuring anywhere near as regularly from February 2019 onwards.
As fans, we can never truly know what is going on behind closed doors, only what happens in front of our eyes on the pitch. From that perspective, it’s clear that Shaqiri offer Klopp a genuine option off the bench.
Perhaps one reason could also be the ditching of a 4-2-3-1 formation for the ever-present 4-3-3 that Klopp opted for across much of last season.
It’s no surprise that the lesser-seen Shaqiri gave way for the ubiquitous Fabinho in the second-half of the season. Other than Huddersfield and a 4-minute cameo against Cardiff in the league, the Brazilian was a mainstay, presumably for stability reasons.
However, as a £13 million super sub, Shaqiri is probably one of the best examples of that kind of deal around. He won’t get many starts, but what he does offer is quality and impetus in the dying embers of a game.
Once he recovers from a calf injury, we expect the Switzerland international to rejoin his teammates as the Reds prepare for the 2019/20 season.