Shaqiri isn’t even a Red yet, but it seems he already faces an uphill battle with the Merseyside fans.
Some fans will be cursing the headlines emerging today regarding Liverpool’s talks with Stoke City for Xherdan Shaqiri. For a lot of fans, the Swiss international is simply a step down from the quality already at the club.
Some of the opinions are based on the idea that his work rate simply isn’t good enough. Others are based on a handful of performances at the World Cup this summer.
Despite the famine of real depth in Liverpool’s ranks, some are not even prepared to consider the positives in such a move. Rather than focus on the player’s apparent lack of defensive quality, fans should be focusing on what he could offer the team. It could yet be a real surprise move for all interested parties.
It’s a phrase that makes this author grimace. When people describe moves for players like Shaqiri as “not a marquee signing,” it’s short sighted, lazy thinking, and should have no place at a top club.
Marquee players go to India aged 32. It’s a phrase that conjures up images of Pele and Beckenbuer at New York Cosmos in the mid seventies. Yes, Shaqiri is not a glamorous name, but then neither are the vast majority of signings.
Jurgen Klopp has built his managerial career on buying unfashionable players. Even last summer, could any of us really have been ecstatic with a left back from Hull and Oxlade-Chamberlain? Twelve months on and it’s a different story to say the least. We have all enjoyed the seminal rise of both players as Liverpool raced towards a Champions League final.
Shaqiri could prove to be a similar gem. His pace and trickery, as well as his capacity for the spectacular, could make him a fan favourite. The likes of Garcia, Crouch and Rodriguez were all similarly unorthodox, unfashionable players who the Kop took to. Shaqiri could fit that bill.
Exciting challenge ahead
Three years ago, Shaqiri would have walked into Liverpool’s team as we floundered and failed under Brendan Rodgers. For the Swiss international to be joining as a certified squad player, it seems, is yet another example of how far Klopp has taken this team.
It’s a challenge Shaqiri should relish. The exposure to superior players and coaches should help his game massively, as it has with Henderson and Mane to name just two.
Who’s also to say that this won’t bring out the best in him? For sure he’ll have to up his game, and get more involved with the pressing and running. The likes of Milner and Bobby Firmino are currently covering more than 11km a game on average, therefore Shaqiri will not be allowed to slack off.
If his attitude is poor and he is unwilling, then it is highly unlikely that we will even see the Swiss winger signed up.
Off the bandwagon
Fans are still grieving over Fekir’s failed move. Their ideal signing is Dyabla or Asensio. Great as this would be, we must live in the real world.
Burdening the club with match day moaning at the site of Shaqiri will not help either. We should be pleased to snatch up a player with top-class experience for less than £15 million.
Certain fans need to jump down from the bandwagon and see sense. Nobody should be demanding that he be our bright light for 18/19. What he could offer Liverpool this coming season should be embraced and, what’s more, considered.