After being checked out by Switzerland’s medical staff, Xherdan Shaqiri is back with Liverpool, with his national team judging that a groin issue that he’s dealing with is too severe to allow for his involvement in their next two games.
While there is no word on how long he has been dealing with an injury, the news could also, just maybe, offer some insight into why Shaqiri has found minutes so difficult to come by in recent months at the club level after a promising autumn.
Shaqiri was regulaly involved up until the end of February, and he played in every league game after Christmas, starting three times and coming off the bench on another three occasions. The next month, though, something changed.
Two short substitute appearances and one game not even in the squad were followed by him making the bench but not coming on in four league games in a row. During that stretch he also spent both matches against Bayern Munich on the bench.
He’d gone from first attacking option and a player pushing for consideration in the starting eleven to barely even on the fringes. And while the club never discussed any possible injury, it’s hard not to speculate about one maybe playing a role.
The same could be said for Naby Keïta, who over the past two months has gone from promising push to out of the mix. No injury specifics have been confirmed by the club, but like Shaqiri he won’t be playing for his national team this month.
It’s not good news, of course—it isn’t for either player. And yet, perhaps, it’s better than the alternative if the alternative is that Shaqiri and Keïta had fallen entirely out of favour with manager Jürgen Klopp.