Xherdan Shaqiri is one of the major transfers this season, and his inclusion certainly made the Liverpool side much stronger.
Liverpool and Basel have been closely related to each other in recent times. The story of rejection and acceptance however takes the long route to complete the plot. When Liverpool went on the hot pursuit of Mohamed Salah, the deal was almost done and dusted only for Chelsea to intervene and hijack the 22 year old then Basel winger. However, Liverpool had the last laugh when they signed Salah last year from Roma and the winger hit the record books when he scored a record 32 goals in his debut season. A plot that is a culmination of rejection and acceptance capped off with flair, things however worked out the same way this time as well.
Xherdan Shaqiri caught the eyes of Liverpool scouts when he ran riot against Manchester United, bagging two assists as Basel won 2-1. The plot was off and running with Liverpool taking keen interest in the young winger but Shaqiri put pen to paper when Bayern Munich came calling in 2012, thus acquiring the services of the winger for 4 years. Xherdan won the champions league with Bayern in 2013 when the Bavarian outfit beat Borussia Dortmund, and this was the season when then Dortmund manager and present Liverpool gaffer Jurgen Klopp took notice of him.
Shaqiri’s journey from the Alpine mountains to Anfield was similar to that of Salah. However, the biggest similarities that they have is their scale of comparison. Salah, because of the stark similarity that he has with Messi is referred to as the “Egyptian Messi”. Shaqiri likewise has grabbed the attention of the pundits and earned himself the nickname of “Alpine Messi”.
However, come 2015 when Shaqiri’s contract came to an end with Bayern, he was again on the move, this time to Italy with Inter Milan where he bagged a solitary goal in the 15 appearances he made in the Nerazzurri blue. Lack of game time and adapting to the conditions were to be the major setbacks as Shaqiri signed a new deal with Stoke City making him the record signing for the English outfit.
Shaqiri was an instant favourite among the Stoke faithful when he assisted Mame Biram Diouf from a set piece. In his 84 appearances for the Potters he recorded a total of 15 goals but it wasn’t enough to keep the Potters in the English top flight as they were relegated last season.
Keeping everything aside, Shaqiri was again among the headlines when the Swiss international bagged the winner for his team against Serbia in a 2-1 win. The Kosovo born Swiss international celebrated by putting his hands together to form the “Albanian Eagle” and thus putting fire to the pyre of controversies. However,the headlines in Merseyside were narrating a whole different story. Xherdan who previously expressed his desire to play in the Premiere League was linked with a move to Liverpool. On the 13th of July things were finally put into act and Shaqiri officially was a Red.
Shaqiri was always a sought-after signing from his early days when he ran riot on the wings against United. But what makes Shaqiri a signing to look up to needs a totally different perspective.
After Philippe Coutinho left for Barcelona, Liverpool have found it difficult to find a proper number 10 who would provide the play making prowess for the front three as well as find the back of of the net often. With Shaqiri’s gin of exquisite play making, Liverpool could have the perfect blend to form the best attacking cocktail going forward. Direct goal threat from set pieces was something that Liverpool were lacking with a constant change in set piece takers. With Shaqiri the probability of converting the half chances from set pieces increases manyfold such is the quality that the “Alpine Messi” brings into the side.
Shaqiri and Salah were team mates at Basel and the co-ordination between the two is what has to be the most valuable point. The two ex-Basel players are expected to run riot among the defenses of the rivals with their pace and prowess along side Mane and Firmino.
With an incredible amount of pace and a hammer of a left foot, Shaqiri has to be the ideal Jurgen Klopp kind of player. The Liverpool gaffer is known for bringing in lesser known faces and extracting the best out of them. He has expressed his desire to work with the Swiss winger telling how impressed he was with Xherdan when he was playing for Bayern. Shaqiri, likewise has ‘expressed his immense desire’ to work with Klopp. While some media outlets claim Shaqiri to be a signing to add quality to the bench, the Swiss international certainly seems to be a signing worth the hype.