Not many footballers have enjoyed a career like Xherdan Shaqiri, you know.
The Swiss maestro is one of only four players to score in at World Cup 2014, Euro 2016, World Cup 2018 and Euro 2020.
The others are Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku and Ivan Perisic.
He’s won league titles in three countries, and both the Champions League and the Club World Cup with two different sides – Bayern Munich and Liverpool.
Yet, a player of his incredible talent has made just 45 Premier League appearances in three full seasons with us – most of which have come from the bench.
As a club footballer, Shaqiri is an idea and a memory rather than anything constructive. His YouTube showreel is about as good as anybody’s – bicycle kicks, long-range screamers off either foot, nutmegs, insane touches – you name it. But he’s stopped being useful to Jurgen Klopp, consistently, a long time ago.
And this is sad. The Reds boss hasn’t found a way of fitting Shaq into his plans at any point, really. There was a small time in his debut season when he was a playmaker from the right-wing, with Mo Salah central, but it wasn’t long before the Egyptian returned to the inside-forward position – a role which requires the pace and directness Shaq lacks.
The Swiss likes doing his best work between the lines, in pockets of space, and although there’s been times when it looks like Liverpool are crying out for the kind of central, creative spark, it’s become increasingly rare that Klopp has turned to Shaq.
Many would use his injuries as an explanation, and he has been unavailable plenty – for 51 games in total since arriving from Stoke – but as proven by his recent performances for his country – he likes being the Main Man.
His brace for Switzerland in the 3-1 Turkey win was beautiful – and showed Shaqiri as the swaggering maverick that he is.
I hope Liverpool sell him this summer and he can show the world his sublime talent a little more often.
Gini Wijnaldum is the goalscoring no.8 we could have done with last season
I always knew Gini was good – he’s been an integral part of our success ever since he signed – but watching him for Netherlands is something else. He’s been scoring at a goal per game for his country for some time now. In Qualifying, he got eight in seven. This summer at the Euros, he’s got three in three.
For Liverpool, he scored 22 goals in 232 games – less than one in 10.
For Netherlands, he has more goals than Marco van Basten. (Yep. Look it up.)
His role with us was much different, and seeing him burst into the box, ahead of the strikers, makes you wonder if we missed a trick with him. Not between 2018 and 2020 when we were all but invincible, and he was integral to our shape – but what about in 2021, when he was being used an anchorman during the period we couldn’t buy a goal…?
Gini never kicked up a fuss about his position, but perhaps there’s some part of him which wants a more expansive, glorified role with his new team PSG. His talent certainly deserves it, much like the previously mentioned Shaq.
Wijnaldum said he would explain the reasons why he left Liverpool at an appropriate time. It’s probably money, but maybe he’d had enough of his metronomic job when he was so much more to give offensively.
What’s crucial for us now, of course, is replacing him. Many of the journalists close to the club have been telling us the club has no plans to replace the 30-year-old, but I don’t buy it. Have we not learned our lesson from not replacing Dejan Lovren last summer? It literally ruined our season – we can’t afford not to bring in a direct candidate for the position of someone who played in 38 PL games in 2020/21.
I’d love Youri Tielemans, but I fear he’ll simply be too expensive. Let’s hope the club has something up its sleeve.
I heard a while back that Yves Bissouma was a genuine target – but nothing seems to have happened yet on that front.
Alexander Isak is a special talent – Liverpool should consider signing the forward to fight with Firmino for minutes
I’m sure you’ve been as impressed with Isak as I have this tournament. His dribble against Slovakia has gone viral ten times over. But it’s not as if any prospective buyer would be putting in a bid purely based on an exciting tournament – like Liverpool did with El Hadji Diouf in 2002!
The giant Swede has 16 and then 17 goals in his past two La Liga seasons with Real Sociedad – good numbers for anyone – and exceptional numbers for a 21-year-old.
I love his height and his skill-set – and he appears a far more natural striker of the ball than Roberto Firmino, the player he’d be putting pressure on for minutes.
Bobby is a Liverpool legend, but his inability to cleanly shoot the ball when in decent areas drives me crazy. He’s a great footballer, but his finishing is abysmal – and I say that unapologetically.
Divock Origi needs moving on, so a spot for someone like Isak, breathing down Bobby’s neck, is something we need to also do this summer.
Again, the reports that Liverpool wont’ strengthen the attack simply have to the club’s usual smokescreen.
We saw it last summer with Thiago. Denial, denial, denial – transfer complete. The Diogo Jota saga lasted about 12 hours from the first rumour to the Portuguese holding the shirt up, so be patient, Reds – it’ll happen.