Harry Wilson has reportedly made a brave decision and it could save the Liverpool career of Xherdan Shaqiri. The duo are in tough positions.
The BBC says Harry Wilson is ‘open to dropping into the second tier’. The Welshman is in high-demand, too, with a host of Championship clubs reportedly looking at him.
And that will all be music to the ears if Xherdan Shaqiri as it could save his Liverpool career.
Shaqiri had a strange campaign last year. He barely played but looked good when he did. Only two Premier League starts tell the story somewhat but he particularly shone in one of those.
It came against Everton last December. Jurgen Klopp switched his formation for the game, going 4-2-3-1 and resting Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. In came Shaqiri and the Swiss winger played excellently, wreaking havoc and scoring in the first half.
But injuries prevented Shaqiri from ever getting consistent games. And as he looked to get back on track this season, Wilson must have frightened him.
Both Wilson and Shaqiri are right-wingers who look to cut inside on their left foot. Both are set-piece experts, too, capable of delivering spectacular goals from free-kicks.
They each have one more thing in common – Liverpool reportedly tried to sell them before the transfer deadline. They supposedly wanted £20m each but didn’t sell either, of course.
But then there are differences. Differences, too, that work against Shaqiri.
As per an Echo report, Liverpool were ‘relaxed’ about keeping Wilson if Shaqiri left. That tells us that they prefer the Welshman over the Swiss, presumably because of their respective injury records. On top of that, Wilson is a good few years younger than Shaqiri – he’s got much more room for development at this stage.
Then one look at Liverpool’s squad shows a problem. There’s only really room for one of them. Liverpool do need a natural right-winger to cover Mohamed Salah but that’s the only available role for the two of them.
Having both at the club means either splitting that role between two – providing incredibly limited minutes to each – or picking one over the other. And it certainly sounds as though Liverpool would have picked Wilson.
But the Welshman’s decision to drop down a tier frees the spot for Shaqiri. The Swiss has had an up-and-down time since arriving for £13m in 2018 and if he wants to get back on track, Wilson has done him a massive favour.
This was, in all liklihood, the only way Shaqiri was going to play this season.