Liverpool winger Xherdan Shaqiri has come under fire from both Gary Neville and club legend Graeme Souness in recent weeks.
Contrary to the comments you’re about to read, we at Empire of the Kop think the Swiss flyer has been a decent bit-part player so far this season, contributing as much as his involvement dictates.
It was Souness who went after Shaq first, claiming Liverpool had “nothing” up front in their 3-1 win over West Ham, suggesting Mo Salah was the only forward worth his salt alongside the No.23 and Divock Origi.
“They’ve got nothing up front,” announced the Scot on Sky Sports (via the Mirror). “I’m sorry, [Divock] Origi and Shaqiri [aren’t good enough]. [Mo] Salah’s up there on his own.
“We’re used to [Sadio] Mane taking people on, [Bobby] Firmino sliding clever balls in. What you’re getting is what I expected from the other two – not a lot.”
While the opinion that Mane and Firmino are better than Shaqiri and Origi is absolutely valid, we’re not sure it’s the players’ fault – it’s difficult to turn to your bench for rotation and not have some sort of drop-off.
But the criticism for the Switzerland international didn’t stop there, with Neville basically calling him lazy in Liverpool’s final third – but he does raise a fair point about Shaq’s style of play as a No.10.
“The problem is with Shaqiri is that he plays walking football in that [central] role. It would be nice if he made a run through. I think he just jogged forward a bit there, but he’s got to do more,” the former United captain said.
“Off the ball I’m talking about, on the ball he’s got a little bit of quality, but he’s got to provide a bit of penetration.“