Liverpool’s complicated move for Nabil Fekir, and it’s predictable collapse that took place last summer, created a huge frenzy among fans, so much so that when Liverpool eventually turned its attention away from Fekir, their ‘Plan B’ was considered a bit overwhelming. However, while there are plenty of contenders for the Player of the Season award at Liverpool this year, including James Milner, Andrew Robertson and even Virgil van Dijk, Xherdan Shaqiri is right there with them.
Shaqiri’s two sensational goals during the 3-1 victory against Manchester United earlier this month were definitely considered the most noticeable contributions the star has made at Liverpool, but most fans believe that his presence has been felt much earlier.
Xherdan Shaqiri Contributions to Liverpool
The addition of Xherdan Shaqiri, who was signed from Stoke for approximately £13.5 million during the summer, has worked perfectly on a number of levels for Jurgen Klopp, with individual performances being the most basic of them. Klopp has described the midfielder’s contributions as ‘not normal’ and ‘genius’ on several occasions and is regarded as a symbol of how amazingly the Liverpool side functions as a machine. Xherdan Shaqiri slotted in seamlessly and was absorbed into the club like a dancer who joins a group routine without ever missing a single step. That’s primarily down to him as well as his attitude but also due to the overall unit being so amendable and flexible to brand-new arrivals.
Usually, players are signed by huge clubs to act as backups, to place additional pressure or to replace already established stars. However, Shaqiri immediately complimented the marvellous attacking trio of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, and Sadio Mane last season. To introduce Shaqiri to that attacking line-up was a massive gamble for Klopp to undertake.
Given the problems Liverpool had last season at the back of 91 goals scored by the attacking trio, no one would have criticized Shaqiri for leaving the club alone and focusing on his skills elsewhere. However, Klopp was well aware that his forwards were struggling at times to break down lesser sides which meant a different approach was required. The approach involved a 4-2-3-1 formation where Shaqiri played alongside others to make the team whole and excel individually.
Liverpool’s Gamble Paid Off
Acquiring a low-profile footballer from a relegated club, especially when you have title aspirations, seemed like a huge gamble. However, Liverpool made it work as it’s a recipe that the club has tried before. Georginio Wijnaldum and Andrew Robertson were brought in from Newcastle and Hull, following their demotions, and if you include Shaqiri, the three of them cost a mere £45 million.
This indicates how flexible the transfer policy is at Liverpool and it makes the statement quite clear that the club is after the right player for the position as opposed to the most expensive player that is currently the most popular. Klopp definitely made a gamble for Shaqiri, but if you look at what the player is bringing to the table, you can see why Liverpool is at the top of the log at the moment.