Liverpool reportedly have a plan for Harvey Elliott and it isn’t good news for Xherdan Shaqiri. The Swiss winger won’t have a place at Anfield.
It doesn’t sound as though Xherdan Shaqiri and Harvey Elliott can coexist at Liverpool. Not with Liverpool’s reported plan.
The Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle detailed that plan this week.
“I fully expect that next season he will be back at Liverpool and challenging for a first-team place,” Doyle told the Echo’s Blood Red podcast, before adding:
“He will initially be support to Mohamed Salah and I know it is a huge shout at this stage, but I genuinely think he is that talented that he could be the long-term replacement for Salah.”
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It sounds as though Elliott will be in the squad next season and won’t be vacating his place for a long time, then. That, of course, is currently Shaqiri’s spot.
The 29-year-old has been far more involved this season after an injury-ravaged campaign last time. He’s principally Salah’s backup, although we’ve also seen him in an attacking midfield role.
But take that backup place away from him and it’s tough to see how Shaqiri gets regular games. He’d only have attacking midfield opportunities and we’re not sure how many of those there will be.
Shaqiri only really got them this term because of injuries to others, after all.
But perhaps most telling is this from David Lynch on the same podcast:
“The idea initially was to keep [Elliott] around this season and give him minutes,” said Lynch.
“Liverpool thought that Xherdan Shaqiri was going to go [to another team], but it didn’t work out that way because of coronavirus.”
Liverpool, then, didn’t see room for both of them this season, either. Shaqiri was the one they wanted to move on but that failure meant Elliott needed to go on loan.
But next season, if integrating the 17-year-old truly is the plan, then those plans to sell Shaqiri will intensify. There plainly isn’t room for both and it’s a fight only Elliott can win.