It’s probably fair to say that Xherdan Shaqiri’s Liverpool career hasn’t exactly gone to plan for the now 29-year-old Swiss international who arrived as a bargain from relegated Stoke City in 2018 before struggling through two injury-plagued seasons.
Multiple injuries and struggles to regain match fitness have limited his chances, and it’s felt as though any time he has begun to find form and minutes there has been another setback. As a result, the belief over the summer was that his time at the club had ended.
Early in the 2020-21 season, though, he has impressed, taking on a midfield role as the left sided eight in Jürgen Klopp’s 4-3-3 and showing that he still has what it takes to make a real impact for the defending Premier League champions.
“The subs always try to change the game and try to decide the games,” Shaqiri said of his latest impact, looking lively off the bench against a pesky West Ham side on Saturday and eventually providing the assist on Diogo Jota’s match winner.
“I’m a player and Diogo is also a player who can decide games and we needed that, so it was perfect. We both [played a part] in the second goal. It was a nice one and an important one, so we are very happy the three points stay here at Anfield.”
Saturday may have been Shaqiri’s first Premier League appearance this season, but he was one of Liverpool’s best players mid-week in the Champions League and previously this season put in one of the club’s best performances in the League Cup.
Now, having proven he can still make an impact—and in the process getting himself a little closer to being fully match fit after two years in which he has played very little football—the goal will be to continue to perform and, hopefully, to stay healthy.
“It’s always nice to be involved,” Shaqiri added. “Obviously I was injured a few times and it was always the hard way for me until now. I’m very happy that I’ve got my minutes back, I’ve tried to stay fit, and I hope it stays like this.”