Xherdan Shaqiri was a forgotten footballer just a few weeks ago. The Swiss international was said to have been on his way out of Anfield with the arrival of Thiago Alcantara. Poor form and injuries had blighted Shaqiri’s opportunities as a Liverpool player and a move elsewhere was expected.
Yet, Shaqiri has turned in nothing but excellent performances this season. Coming out of Saturday night’s 2-1 come from behind win over West Ham, he was one of the players everyone talked about. Diogo Jota, Nat Phillips and Shaqiri were outlined as star performers, and all for good reason.
It was Shaqiri’s gorgeous nutmeg through ball that sent Jota in on goal to score the winner. It wasn’t the first time Shaqiri helped set up the winner for Liverpool this week. Against Midtjylland in the Champions League, it was Shaqiri’s brilliant pass to Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right flank that gave the right-back space to cross to Jota’s right foot to score.
All the talk this season was about Thiago after he signed from Bayern Munich. He has played just 133 minutes of football, tallying no goals or assists, but has shown quality. Of course, Thiago tested positive for COVID-19 and has been injured keeping him out of the team. Injuries were the previous problem of Shaqiri.
Shaqiri made his season debut for Liverpool in the league on Saturday. He played just 18 minutes of football, tallying the assist for Jota’s winner. He registered a 92% pass success rate and made one key pass, according to WhoScored.com.
With Roberto Firmino being more miss than hit for much of this season so far, Shaqiri could get more playing time as a more traditional No. 10 playing with Jota, Sadio Mane, and Mohamed Salah. After an excellent week in Europe and the Premier League, both Shaqiri and Jota are pushing for regular places in the team.
Shaqiri has played in four games in all competitions for the Reds. He has one goal (a beauty in the Carabao Cup) and an assist in 215 minutes of football. The midfielder averages a goal or assists every 107.5 minutes of playing.
Now fit, Shaqiri cannot be written off. He has gone from surplus to requirements to being a player pushing for a regular place in the starting XI next to Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum in midfield.