I was happier than I thought I would be to see Xherdan Shaqiri confidently grinning in his Liverpool shirt. The walk-up to the camera. That broad body coming into focus. Der Kraftwürfel, The Powercube, they called him at Bayern Munich. He throws the shirt on, strikes his arms-crossed pose. The glint in his eyes. What an amazing story it would be if Shaqiri’s erstwhile promise found it’s mojo again with Jürgen Klopp. In this Liverpool squad.
The Swiss international’s road to Anfield is well-known by now. Showing much promise at Basel led Shaqiri to an uninspiring stint at Bayern. And then an uninteresting time at Inter Milan led him to what became a very serviceable three-year stay at Stoke City. Xherdan did struggle once Stoke sold off his other attacking partners last summer but the player’s performances at the World Cup should serve as proof of his continuing quality.
Shaqiri even nearly stopped off in Liverpool earlier up that road. Brendan Rodgers was trying to bring him in four years ago but Bayern weren’t interested in letting Shaqiri leave at the time and all parties moved on. But life’s a funny thing.
“I’m very happy to be here,” Shaqiri told liverpoolfc.com
“It’s a huge club with big history, big players and a fantastic coach. So I’m really glad and happy to be here.
“As a player you always want to be on the biggest stage in football. A few years ago I wanted to come too but it didn’t happen. I’m really happy that now I’m finally here.
“I want to improve myself too, I want to be with the best and I want to win titles. That’s what I’m here for.”
Klopp will have big hopes for Xherdan this season. At twenty-six, Shaqiri is a player in his prime, capable of sustaining his highest level and will be expected to do just that on a daily basis at Melwood. Time will tell if we get the amazing story of Shaqiri or more of the same serviceable football, but we can be confident in the manager’s gift for teaching and for providing players with a detailed map to their mojo. Please find it, Xherdan. I like you.