Xherdan Shaqiri has emphatically rejected claims he could leave Liverpool this summer, insisting he will “definitely” stay with “the best club in Europe.”
Shaqiri was the most low-cost arrival of last year at Anfield, joining from Stoke City for a bargain fee of just £13 million following their relegation.
The Swiss faced competition from the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane on the flanks, and struggled to carved out a regular starting role after a brief experiment as a No. 10.
Ending the campaign having made 30 appearances, including 15 from the bench, speculation mounted as to whether Shaqiri could in fact depart after just one season.
West Ham were touted as a possible destination for the 27-year-old, who had previously filled a similar duty with Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in a nomadic career.
But speaking after Liverpool’s triumph in the Champions League final, Shaqiri ruled out any exit, pledging his future to “the best club in Europe.”
“I’m at Liverpool FC, the best club in Europe,” the winger told Goal.
“The manager has many good options and has to decide who can play. I knew before my transfer that the competition here is very tough.
“I have a long-term contract and I definitely will stay.”
This is certainly a conclusive statement from Shaqiri, even acknowledging his difficulty in breaking into the starting lineup and being aware that he may be a squad player prior to his move.
He still scored six goals and laid on five assists in his 30 outings, averaging a direct goal contribution every 128.5 minutes—which is his best since the 2013/14 campaign with Bayern (one every 111.1 minutes).
The season before that saw Shaqiri win his first Champions League, though like in Madrid on Saturday he was an unused substitute as Bayern triumphed over Jurgen Klopp‘s Borussia Dortmund.
This time around, he had a bigger influence on the road to the final, as it was his cross that led to Gini Wijnaldum‘s header to bring it to 3-3 on aggregate against Barcelona in the semis.
“It’s a special moment for me standing here with the gold medal again,” he reflected.
“I’m just proud and happy. I think I contributed my part to the title.”
Liverpool are set to enter seven competitions next season—albeit two being single fixtures, with the Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup to come in August—and Klopp will require depth from the likes of Shaqiri to succeed.