This evening will see the latest chapter in the story of Thiago Alcantara and Xherdan Shaqiri.
Two of Liverpool’s most talented players will face off at in a huge Euro 2020 quarter-final tie in St Petersburg.
Thiago’s Spain edged past Croatia in an eight-goal thriller to reach this stage, while Shaqiri’s Switzerland ousted world champions France on penalties in an equally exciting game.
The winner will be rewarded with a semi-final against either Belgium or Italy. Those two international superpowers face off in tonight’s 8pm kick-off.
However, Liverpool fans may have more interest in the less-exciting, on paper at least, 5pm game.
Two of their current stars will be in action, although only one of them is likely to take to the field.
In a role-reversal of their Liverpool careers, Shaqiri is set to be Switzerland’s key man once again, while Thiago will watch on from the Spain bench.
Shaqiri has been a stand-out for his country thus far. He scored a brace in the final group game to see them through to the knockout stages.
With Granit Xhaka suspended, the 29-year-old will have to take on an even bigger leadership role.
Meanwhile, Thiago has only come off the bench in two of Spain’s four matches.
It has been a shock to most, as he is one of the very best midfielders on earth and was expected to be Luis Enrique’s most important player.
Plenty of history with Thiago and Shaqiri
Unfortunately, tonight will see the end of the road for another of Liverpool’s stars at Euro 2020.
There is no shortage of history between both Thiago and Shaqiri.
What many will not be aware of is that it all began ten years ago in 2011, at the u21 European Championships.
Here, Spain faced off against Switzerland in the tournament final. It was La Rojita that won that game in Denmark.
Barcelona’s Thiago Alcantara scored the second goal in a 2-0 win with a free-kick described as “extravagant” by UEFA.com.
He won the man of the match award after stiff competition from Switzerland’s No 10: Xherdan Shaqiri.
Little did they know that they would go on to become teammates for the majority of the following decade. First at Bayern Munich, where they became great friends, and then at Liverpool.
The Spaniard was the winner ten years ago, but Shaqiri and Switzerland will not be thinking about that if they progress in 2021.
There are five Swiss players involved that day that are in their current squad. Shaqiri, Xhaka, Yann Sommer, Admir Mehmedi and last-16 hero Mario Gavranovic.
There are two from the Spain starting XI that are still in the squad. Like Thiago, David de Gea will not start today, despite being one of their best players in the last decade.
Hopefully, Thiago will get on the pitch this evening. It would be great to see he and Shaq battling it out in the middle of the park.
We are sure there will be no love lost between them, no matter the result.