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Xherdan Shaqiri has put himself back in contention to become a regular starter

Xherdan Shaqiri is a player who thrives with momentum on his side and struggles when such is lacking.

Jurgen Klopp has the opportunity to capitalise on the Switzerland international’s impressive form in recent weeks as Liverpool prepare to take on Leicester City on Sunday.

Shaqiri, 29, has featured in the Reds’ two previous Premier League matches (Manchester City and West Ham) and amid the growing injury crisis, has suddenly become an important squad option for Klopp.

He has yet to start for Liverpool in the league since December 2019 and the last showcase of faith from the manager in such a big match under the Anfield lights was met with a significant reward.

Shaqiri produced a stunning performance in the iconic 5-2 victory against Everton just under a year ago. It represents the most recent occasion he was on the scoresheet in the Premier League for Liverpool.

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As his long stint without a goal continued coupled by a long-term calf issue, his confidence began to dip. He scored six times in the league during his first four months with the club – he has found the net on just one occasion since.

He hasn’t been given a sustained run in the team in almost two years since he started five consecutive league matches from November 11 to December 8.

 

Shaqiri came off the bench in both of Liverpool’s most recent league matches against Manchester City and West Ham and made an immediate impact in each cameo appearance.

It was unfortunately timed from his part. There was no immediate chance for him to kick on, with club football taking a temporary halt as a result of the international break.

Having been denied his chance to use it as a springboard after getting back on track, recent circumstances have meant that Shaqiri could get the opportunity to start for Liverpool buzzing and full of confidence, finally.

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Liverpool have an opportunity too

With both injuries and current form under consideration, Shaqiri has thrown his hat into the ring for a starting spot.

Mohamed Salah is unavailable. Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho, meanwhile are both yet to be fully assessed meaning Shaqiri’s versatility hands Klopp a viable option in both attack and midfield.

Klopp will be intrigued to see if Shaqiri can kick on from his previous Anfield outing against West Ham, where the £13 million signing from Stoke [BBC] turned the game on its head with a stunning disguised pass to assist Diogo Jota for the winning goal.

If Shaqiri is going to start against Leicester, as he inevitably will at some stage given the fact Liverpool have 11 matches in the next 36 days, the weekend is an opportune time to put him in.

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Liverpool have various options in attack, but Shaqiri offers Liverpool something different.

He could be deployed in a 4-2-3-1 formation, and if so could be deployed as part of an attacking quartet that utilises Shaqiri, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Jota altogether.

An alternative could be Klopp puts Shaqiri in a midfield triumvirate. The Liverpool boss has done this in the Carabao Cup victory against Lincoln City.

Having a number of options is a positive where Liverpool are concerned amid a tough run of fixtures. It is good to see Shaqiri looking like he could be a useful one.

After being overlooked for much of the start of the season, now is the time for Shaqiri to remind us all just what he is capable of in the coming weeks.

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