Injury issues and a frantic schedule preventing Jürgen Klopp giving some of his fringe players the chance to work their way up to full match fitness has conspired to largely keep Xherdan Shaqiri on the periphery over the past year.
Now, fresh off a rare starring turn for the Swiss international, there are reports that the situation could result in the player departing the club in January, with claims in the Turkish press that a deal to take him to Galatasaray is close.
So close in fact that a delegation for the Super Lig side has travelled to Liverpool to ensure a deal gets done and that Shaqiri can make the switch to Turkey as soon as the January transfer window slides open in less than a month.
Or at least that’s the story being peddled by Fanatik this week, who say the deal would be a half-season loan with an option to buy. Which should further raise everybody’s eyebrows if they weren’t already raised high to begin with.
While Shaqiri’s limited playing time since joining Liverpool has been a touch disappointing, his struggles with staying fit have played a major role in those limited minutes and when he is fit he provides a valuable depth option for the team.
In the midst of a title challenge, it’s hard to see the club being eager to send him on his way in January—especially when it would be a loan deal with, as reported at least, not even a guarantee of a purchase by Galatasaray at the end of it.
It’s difficult, too, to see any player in the current squad pushing hard for a mid-season departure—even if longer-term one can imagine Shaqiri, who’s now 28 years of age, could well look to move on from the club come summer 2020.
For now, then, we’re comfortable dismissing this rumour, no matter how certain Fanatik are that a deal is so close to being done that a team of Galatasaray dealmakers are currently flying their way towards Merseyside.