Liverpool will complete a move for Xherdan Shaqiri at the end of the World Cup, according to a report in the Independent. The Stoke City winger, who is starring for Switzerland in Russia, has been linked with a move away from the Potters after they suffered relegation from the Premier League.
Jurgen Klopp is in the market for a skilful wide man, with a move for Lyon’s Nabil Fekir falling down at the last hurdle. With that transfer failing, the German has turned his attention to the former Bayern Munich and Internazionale winger. The question is - would he be a good fit at Anfield?
Figurehead of Stoke's failed philosophy
On statistics alone, the answer is no. Shaqiri has had an average year at club level, scoring eight and registering seven assists. His returns are mollified, however, when one considers just how poor the Stoke side he was consigned to play in was.
Lacking in a decent goalscorer all year, the Potters’ flirted extensively with the drop, as they failed to reinvent themselves as a tidy, passing side under Mark Hughes and Paul Lambert.
Shaqiri has been the figurehead of that failed philosophy. He has never been consistent enough to offer real value to the club he first joined back in 2015.
Too often, he has drifted through games, looking uninterested as his teammates laboured on without him. That lack of guaranteed end product is what stifled his career in Germany and Italy.
On the basis of his performances in the Premier League thus far, there is little to suggest that a move to Liverpool will change that.
Shaqiri’s recent performance against Serbia typified the good and bad aspects of his talent. When he has an individual point to move, he can be relentlessly unplayable.
At times, it felt like Switzerland's hopes of World Cup success rested on his bulging traps, as Serbia’s scatterbrained defenders struggled to contain him. When things go against him, however, he is prone to disappear altogether, sulking indulgently on the flanks.
That won’t matter to Klopp, who will know exactly what he is buying in the Swiss maestro. Shaqiri’s arrival would provide him with a talented substitute, a grenade to throw on the pitch when one of Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah need a rest.
The former Basel man is unlikely to command a regular starting spot but he can most certainly have an impact in the cup competitions and against lesser sides in the Premier League. Apart from the oft-injured Adam Lallana, Liverpool looks slight in terms of attacking alternatives.
For Shaqiri personally, the move makes sense. A talent like his does not belong in the Championship; a talent like his, arguably, should never have been at Stoke in the first place.
Whether he deserves a move to Liverpool is moot. Now, having been given a third attempt to succeed at a major club, he must throw himself into making a success of what has been an underwhelming career.
It’s now or never for a man who has never applied himself to his career as thoroughly as he should have. Klopp might just be the man to wring consistency from him,
Do you think Klopp should secure a move for Shaqiri? Let us know below!