Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Two big Klopp decisions have created new Liverpool role for Shaqiri

Liverpool sanctioned two late deals on Friday evening for Harry Wilson and Harvey Elliott to both leave the Reds on loan. It could open the door to a newfound role at the club for Xherdan Shaqiri.

Sky Sports confirmed both deals just hours before the Friday afternoon deadline. Wilson, 23, will return to his homeland having joined Cardiff City while Elliott, 17, has taken his footballing talents to Ewood Park and Blackburn Rovers.

Both deals suddenly make Xherdan Shaqiri’s position at the club all the more important.

If we include Ben Woodburn, who also left the club on loan to join Blackpool, Liverpool have lost three attacking squad players in the space of a few hours. Shaqiri could still fill that gap left by the aforementioned trio.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 04: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Xherdan Shaqiri of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC at Anfield on December 04, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Tough season

Shaqiri, 28, himself was subject to numerous transfer speculation during the summer window and the Switzerland international looked set to leave the club following his omission from Jurgen Klopp’s Carabao Cup squad to face Arsenal earlier this month, where it was revealed that he was close to securing a transfer away from Liverpool. Two clubs were reportedly interested.

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Instead, a move never materialised and Shaqiri has been maintained at Anfield for another season. He endured a rather strange campaign in the grand scheme of things. Only two Premier League starts indicate he was a rather peripheral figure during Liverpool’s procession to the title last season.

He did, however, have some significant moments for the Reds during the 2019/20 campaign including a memorable performance against Everton which saw Shaqiri utilised in a 4-2-3-1 system with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino on the bench.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 04: Xherdan Shaqiri of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC at Anfield on December 04, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

High moments

Shaqiri was utterly dazzling in that particular match and wreaked havoc from start-to-finish. He even scored his only goal of the season and also got an assist as Liverpool put Everton to the sword following a 5-2 win back in December 2019.

But Shaqiri failed to kick-on from that moment and injuries have since blighted any momentum gained from an emphatic Merseyside victory. Despite the setbacks, Shaqiri could still kick on for Liverpool this season. He is an expert from set-pieces and is capable of delivering spectacular goals from free-kicks.

After all, he is already off the mark for the Reds following his stunning free-kick during Liverpool’s 7-2 victory at Lincoln City in the Carabao Cup last month. The fact that Liverpool decided to allow both Wilson and Elliott to leave indicates that the club anticipate a bigger role for Shaqiri at the club.

Shaqiri was recently included in Liverpool’s Champions League squad and could be a useful asset when Klopp looks to rotate between Europe and domestic duties. An attacking triumvirate of Shaqiri, Diogo Jota and Takumi Minamino may not be of the same ilk as the club’s pedigreed front-three, but as back-ups go it certainly still can oppose a threat.

Liverpool are scheduled to play five times in the space of two weeks, the games will continue to come thick and fast for Klopp in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. The Reds boss has already demonstrated that rotation will become a regular concept this season and Shaqiri looks set to directly reap the benefits.


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