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Xherdan Shaqiri on His New Role and Defending as a Team

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Having spent most of his career on the wing, a role in midfield for Liverpool means new challenges for Shaqiri.

Chelsea v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Xherdan Shaqiri has started twice in the league since joining Liverpool, both times lining up as an attacking midfielder, filling a role Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain did last season and that many thought Nabil Fekir was targeted for.

It’s not a position the 27-year-old Swiss international has played often, and at times his inexperience there shows, but Shaqiri os embracing the challenge of it—and figuring out what it takes to be successful there as he goes along.

“I wanted to give a good performance back to the coach because he gave me the chance to play from the beginning,” he said. “I played the last 10 to 15 minutes against Chelsea in that same role. It’s an interesting position.

“You can see I don’t often play this position. Maybe I have more of the ball in this position. We got our goal, it was a good pass and a good finish. I felt good and I just want to keep it going. I’m really happy to be here.”

On the ball there certainly aren’t any issues, as he showed by setting up Mohamed Salah’s opener and the game’s only goal with an incisive pass to play the Liverpool attacker past the Huddersfield centre half.

Off the ball, though, is where his inexperience sometimes showed. It’s why in his first start in the position he only lasted a half before being substituted despite being arguably the best player when the Reds had the ball.

Against Huddersfield, he went all the way. And he looked more disciplined following the introduction of Gini Wijnaldum, who could be seen coaching and coaxing Shaqiri as Liverpool sought to tighten up and see out the match.

“Maybe we can do better offensively, but defensively, it’s always good for the team to go away with a clean sheet,” he added. “Every defender was very good. I knew it was going to be a tough. It’s a tough place to play.

“It was not the best football we have played, but we got three points and that was the most important thing. Every player has defensive responsibilities. Of course I’m better offensively, but we all have to work defensively, too.

“That’s the most important things to defend as a team altogether. We defend as a team. When you defend well, you always have a chance to score and win the game.”