After a pretty good first season, Xherdan Shaqiri all but disappeared in his sophomore campaign. A number of injuries caused the Swiss attacker to be out of the team for the most part, and he only ended up playing slightly more than a hundred minutes all season long (although he still made sure to put one past Everton).
Now, Shaq’s all healthy and is already reminding people of what he can do. Speaking to the press ahead of Liverpool’s Carabao Cup tie against Arsenal, Pep Lijnders commended Xherdan on his showing in midfield during the previous round’s fixture:
“I think he had a superb game against Lincoln, in a different position to he’s used to playing, so that makes it even more recognisable and even more great. Also for himself, after such a long time, to start, to play, to play in this manner. If we expect one thing from Shaq it’s that he tries to dictate the game, that he always searches for attacking solutions, that he uses his technique to be involved in the buildup and in creating. So I’m really happy for him that he could start like this and show his desire on the ball, his drive, and especially without any injuries - it’s, of course, a very difficult period for him - coming through this game.”
Shaqiri continues to be linked with a move away, but for now he offers dead-ball quality, and a new-found versatility to play on the wings and in the middle of the park. If he can stay healthy and make himself available for selection, the minutes will be there. In a congested season where Liverpool looks to compete on multiple fronts, don’t forget about Shaq.