Liverpool have reportedly made the interesting choice of refusing to lose Xherdan Shaqiri this month after reports claim AS Roma want the winger.
Sky Sports say that Liverpool simply won’t let the Swiss leave this month. That’s after Sky Italia linked Roma with a loan move for Shaqiri.
Now, it’s easy to look at that and see it as a regular decision that plenty of clubs will make this month. It’s actually quite an interesting one, though.
Shaqiri has made just nine appearances for Liverpool this season. Only three of those were starts, with one coming in the Club World Cup semi-final.
In short, Shaqiri isn’t exactly a key member of the first-team squad. But then, he never really has been, relegated to almost a last-resort option since his £13m arrival.
That on its own makes you think Liverpool would be open to options. But then there’s the arrival of Takumi Minamino this month, a player who plays effectively the same positions as Shaqiri. There’s also Harvey Elliott, a clear successor to the right-wing role in the next few years.
But still, Liverpool want to keep Shaqiri this season. Even if the chances of him playing look even slimmer than they did before the turn of the year.
One potential reason for keeping him is if there are any worries over Minamino. Perhaps Liverpool are worried that he won’t be able to step up? Maybe Shaqiri looks like a better squad option? That all seems very unlikely – Minamino really does look like an ideal fit.
Another reason is that Liverpool want all hands on deck for the remainder of the season. The squad may be stretched thin, after all, as things get hectic.
But then, Liverpool have all but wrapped up the Premier League title. Needing to play high-intensity league football isn’t the reason their squad could stretch, though.
Things would certainly get hectic if the plan was the Treble. And perhaps wanting to keep everyone possible is a sign that’s the ultimate goal.