For Xherdan Shaqiri, before Tuesday it had been three seasons out of Europe toiling with Stoke City, and even if the stout attacker didn’t mark his return to the Champions League with a start against Paris Saint-Germain, it was just good to be back.
The noise, the pomp and ceremony, and football under floodlights. The last time Shaqiri played in Europe was in the Europa League with Inter Milan back in 2014-15. The last time he played in the Champions League was the year before with Bayern Munich.
“It was just amazing,” Shaqiri said afterwards—of being back and being part of a late push to win Tuesday night’s game in stoppage time. “It always is when you score a winner in front of the fans, who were amazing. It was a great win for everybody.
“I felt it during the game, how loud the fans were. It was a good game to watch. We played very well during the 90 minutes. We deserved in the end to win—if we’d drawn this game we’d feel very sad. We deserved to win for the amazing performance we played.”
And while it may only have been a late cameo for Shaqiri on Tuesday, he knows the minutes are going to come—both in the Champions League and domestically—in the coming weeks as Liverpool continue to play twice a week in three different competitions.
For a player who was perhaps the only real star at a floundering Stoke City, it’s a different kind of situation—having to wait his turn as part of a deep and talented squad—but Shaqiri knew that coming in and continues to see it as a positive rather than a negative.
“To be successful during the whole season we need every player,” he added. “We’re going to have a lot of games—tough games—so every player has to be ready. We have a really good team and every player is going to be important during the season.”