Xherdan Shaqiri is back at just the right time for Liverpool
No Salah, No Firmino? That too for the Merseyside derby? What was Jürgen Klopp thinking? But, Klopp knew what he was doing, and the Reds won the game comfortably 5-2. It was yet another mesmerising performance from Sadio Mané, but other Liverpool players too deserve praise, especially Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri who took advantage of their rare starting 11 spots and delivered when it mattered.
This season has not been great for Xhedran Shaqiri. His injuries and the form of his teammates has deprived him of first-team chances. With a heavy schedule coming-up, Klopp decided to rotate his squad and give the Swiss a chance. The chance that he probably deserved, and a chance that he took well.
Shaqiri is a talented player, but was missing something crucial to be a part of Klopp's tactical plans - work rate. Klopp expects his attackers to play their part in defending, which the lead trio of Mané-Firmino-Salah does brilliantly. The Shaqiri who played against Everton was different. His game was a combination of creativity, work rate, and attitude. His work off the ball was impressive too. He was available for the defence to ease the pressure off them and start an attack. Shaqiri made 7 ball recoveries, highlighting his defensive contribution.
With the ball, he was even better. He made 10 passes in the final third of the pitch, his link-up play with Trent Alexander-Arnold was noteworthy, and so was his reading of the game. He made some brilliant runs, and was a constant menace for the Everton defence.
With a hectic schedule around the corner, Klopp needs his team fresh and roaring to go. The German will be pleased with Shaqiri's performance against Everton. You can't expect Salah, Mane and Firmino to play every game. Having a player of the calibre of Shaqiri in the Liverpool ranks is a boon and if he can keep up his form, many more games are on the way for the Swiss.Published 06 Dec 2019, 09:55 IST