It’s Tuesday, and after checking with the breaking news banner at the top of the page, I can confirm that Liverpool are in fact still Champions of Europe. This is encouraging news, but realising that three full days have passed since it became truth, I’m forced to reckon with the notion that some of you may now be down to watching highlight packages and crying Hendersons for only eight to ten hours of your day.
Invariably, this will result in fans beginning to look ahead, specifically, to the summer, its World Cups and Gold Cups and Copa Americas and African Cups of Nations, as well as the transfer window.
The club seems to have realised this as well, announcing the Reds’ first moves of the summer today, namely the... free transfer departures of Daniel Sturridge and Alberto Moreno. Well. While the Champions of Europe would perhaps be expected to make slightly bigger waves, releasing a pair of fringe players — extremely likable though they are — makes perfect sense, as well as freeing up wages for whoever will be the new arrivals.
Xherdan Shaqiri exit rumours — to West Ham, no less — were not what I was expecting to follow, nor what I wanted, despite the Swiss international’s influence waning dramatically in the last half of the season, and thankfully, the man himself has stepped up to vigorously deny the claims.
“I’m at Liverpool FC, the best club in Europe,” Shaqiri told Goal on Tuesday. ”The manager has many good options and has to decide who can play. I knew before my transfer that the competition here is very tough.
”I have a long-term contract and I definitely will stay.
“This club needs to win titles,” he continued. “And it’s a good start to win this one, no? Now next year we are going to go again and try to win the Premier League.
“That’s my big dream, to win the Premier League with this club.”
Having made 24 appearances in all competitions, contributing six goals and five assists along the way, Shaqiri’s £13.5m transfer last summer cannot be classified as anything other than a success. The assumption, however, is that Liverpool will attempt to invest in an attacking option to lighten the load on the club’s deadly front line, and that such a player would further limit the former Stoke man’s minutes.
A willingness to fight for his place will go a long way, though, and as long as Shaqiri can sprinkle the occasional match-winning quality on top of that determination, his career in Red could be a long one yet.