There’s so much not to like about Xherdan Shaqiri and that makes him the ideal signing for Liverpool.
For £13.5m quid, it’s not even a roll of the dice – it’s daylight robbery for a player who shone on the biggest stage.
Shaqiri has the ‘it’ factor and to be able to get any player who had a half-decent World Cup for that price is incredible value.
Granted, his previous club have been relegated, but Shaqiri’s technique means that he comes into a Liverpool side, for next to nothing in modern day terms and can make a difference in games where they may want to rest Salah or Mane, and produce.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 13, 2018
As former Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr’s incredible commentary once described him:
“Would you mind if I said, hasn’t he the funniest shape of any player in the Premier League?
“He’s like a bloke that you might see standing outside the pub on a Sunday morning, with his bag with his boots in it, saying ‘where are we playing today’, and a white van comes and picks him up.
“He’s a little chunky fella. He’s wide at the hips, that’s probably being generous to him…but he’s a good player.”
And let’s face it – for all that Liverpool have ability-wise, they lack two things – an edge and a bit of aggression. While Jordan Henderson spending the summer trying to remember how to complete a pass, the Swiss international will be full of confidence in knowing that he dragged his country as far as he could have.
But, to return to that edge. Shaqiri wears his heart on his sleeve, and while that’s gotten him into trouble more times from a PR perspective than it has helped his reputation, he revels in it.
His double-eagle symbol against Serbia was a glorious example of how much fight he has in him and while he was almost clipped over the ear by the powers-that-be for it, he takes pride in his identity and loves responsibility.
So much so, that he was very outspoken when not being selected for the captaincy for the Swiss national side. There’s no pressure on the pocket rocket for the first time in his career and that might just help him leap over the reasonably-low expectations being set for him.
Manchester United are reportedly chasing Ante Rebic, who, despite being in a World Cup final (thanks to absolutely nothing he did), couldn’t lace Shaqiri’s boots. Bonus fun fact: Ante Rebic has committed 19 fouls so far at the World Cup – more than any other player. No wonder Mourinho loves him.
In all seriousness, Liverpool will be facing sides even more defensive-minded than they were against the Reds last season.
Very few players have quicker feet than Shaqiri, his injection of pace and clever footwork could see Klopp’s men launch a serious title challenge because of the investment in depth.
There won’t be a better bargain signing in the Premier League this summer.
If you thought the England hype train was bad, wait until Liverpool are two points ahead of City at Christmas.