Xherdan Shaqiri’s Red Star Showing Shows That The Swiss Is Buying Into Jurgen Klopp’s Methods

We all know that Charlie Adam and Gary Neville aren’t big fans of Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri. Yet Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp splashed out £13.5m on the attacker, believing he’d spotted a bargain.

One of Klopp’s best traits, in my opinion, is the patience he shows when it comes to bedding in new talent. He’s an honest and approachable boss who’ll explain decisions and wait before making big calls regarding team selection. By doing that he allows new players to settle in and he shows regular first team players that they still have a job to do at Anfield. Klopp ensures that he keeps his squad’s harmony intact.

He masterfully bided his time with Andrew Robertson, for four or five months Robertson had to wait for his major chance to claim a regular spot in the starting line-up. Once that opportunity arrived, the Scotsman grabbed his chance with both hands and he’s now one of the Premier League’s best left backs.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is another prime example of a player that had to prove himself on the training ground and wait before really getting his chance to shine on a consistent basis. The Englishman was in sensational form in the second half of last season, up until his injury.

Some players do get their chance right away like Mohamed Salah and Alisson but on the whole most spend at least a few weeks or months coming in and out of the team until they adjust to life as a Liverpool player.

This summer Shaqiri and Fabinho have in particular had to watch on from the sidelines and await their chance and again Jurgen’s plan seems to have worked perfectly.

Last night both new recruits started and impressed in Liverpool’s victory over Red Star Belgrade, the Swiss forward created a goal and Fabinho had a man of the match performance. Both were eager to get on the ball and prove themselves.

You look at Xherdan’s situation and in a way it seems as though Klopp is testing him a wee bit more. It’s as if he’s asking the player if he has the desire to succeed at Liverpool and is willing to make sacrifices for the team.

In total, Shaqiri has made eight appearances for The Reds in this campaign and four of those have been as a substitute. In those games, the twenty-seven year old has made three assists for teammates and they’ve come in Liverpool’s last three fixtures.

In his first Premier League start for the club Xherdan looked very bright and he was key in the build up to two goals for his side but he was then subbed off at half-time, with Liverpool leading 3-0.

After the game Klopp explained his reasoning:

“It was not easy, to be honest. It’s my job to sometimes deliver news nobody wants to hear. That’s how it was at half-time but he is a fantastic boy. I explained it to him so it’s no problem.”

“Usually I don’t explain substitutions at half-time but I thought it made sense. It’s just good to have him; the free-kick was outstanding. That’s good. The whole team was not used to what we did today. As a new player, usually you struggle most but he didn’t – he tried everything.”

“The only problem was defensively. Offensively, it was a good idea but, how I said, we have to work on that more often. But he was good and I liked it.”

Again I think this was a test to see how Shaqiri reacted and he there wasn’t any issues.

The forward has had chances at big clubs before but for whatever reasons he didn’t make it at Bayern Munich or Inter Milan.

His talent has never been in question but his attitude has.

Former Stoke City teammate Adam was quick to give his thoughts on Shaqiri:

“He is a match-winner, but at times it was difficult to play in the same team. The manager would let him get away with certain things.”

“He might get frustrated at not playing as much as he wants – it’s how long he waits and what (manager Jurgen) Klopp does with him,”

I think Klopp has wanted to make sure Shaqiri knows that Klopp’s the boss and in fairness Xherdan has accepted that.

The Swiss star is willing to trackback more (his heatmaps show us that), he’s winning challenges more often and he’s still producing the goods in attacking positions too.

His ability to take a set-piece is phenomenal! He’s also playing in various positions; playing in midfield and further forward and he’s excelling. Shaqiri is never scared to get on the ball and try and make things happen for the team. There already seems to be a nice connection between himself and Mo Salah as Xherdan has the ability to spot Mo’s runs and play  the perfect passes for the striker.

Liverpool needed a player that could play in deeper positions that can unlock tight defences and set up the fluid front three, Xherdan Shaqiri seems to fit the bill perfectly.

Credit to Jurgen Klopp for bringing the attacker in, testing him and now getting more and more out of him!

Leave a Reply