By Matt Ramirez – @Matt_J_Ramirez
In his first few months as a Liverpool player, Xherdan Shaqiri has made a couple things abundantly clear to all of us who follow Liverpool.
Firstly, the boy has talent and has seemingly slotted into this squad perfectly. Secondly, he’s shown us all that Charlie Adam definitely doesn’t have a future as a football scout.
Cast your minds back to July. We’ve just signed Fabinho, we got our first glimpses of Naby Keïta in the famed number 8 kit and all is going pretty well for the club. There were rumblings surrounding Alisson and Nabil Fekir but other than that, it was all quiet regarding incomings at Anfield and we were fine with that.
All of a sudden. “BOOM”. July 13th, breaking news, release clause triggered, Big Shaq is joining Klopp’s merry band of players for £13 million. Premier League experience, Champions League experience, world-class potential, capable of magic and all for £13 million, WHAT A BARGAIN.
At least that’s what I thought, I think it’s safe to say it’s what everyone thought, everyone except for Charles Graham Adam – that lad we signed from Blackpool in 2011 that jogged around for a bit before we sold him to Stoke a year later.
Not a week after he signed, Adam (who is still plying his trade with Stoke in the Championship) hopped on TalkSPORT and began to criticise the Swiss star, proceeding to blame Shaqiri (amongst others) for Stoke’s relegation from the Premier League.
This was followed by both journalists and pundits alike questioning Liverpool’s decision to sign the former Bayern Munich man, questioning his attitude, work rate and commitment.
Well, it’s now late October, Shaqiri has played around 200 minutes of competitive football for Liverpool and he’s been involved in five goals – picking up four assists and opening his goalscoring account against Cardiff this past match-day.
Stats aside, he has looked to possess genuine quality, always looking for the opportunity to create a chance and constantly looking dangerous – not to draw comparisons too early, but he is looking like he COULD fill the role voided by Philippe Coutinho.
Apart from the goal involvement stats, Shaqiri is looking like a genuine quality signing, and is probably our most talented midfield player in terms of going forward – yes, I know he’s primarily a winger, but he has been playing centrally since his arrival.
He’s shown that he has all the traits necessary to succeed in a Klopp system. He has the eye for a pass, loves to get forward, isn’t afraid to take a pop at goal, and most importantly (and to the shock of many pundits and ‘experts’) he’s given into Klopp’s high intensity and high press style of play.
Ultimately, I think Shaqiri has definitely validated his price tag and his transfer to Anfield. He’s proving all the doubters wrong and I love that. He’s outperforming fellow summer signings Keïta and Fabinho, and should his form continue, it could be possible that he be named the signing of the season come May.