Xherdan Shaqiri reflects on his role in the Liverpool game he will “never forget”

Xherdan Shaqiri made a big impact in his first season at Liverpool, including two goals off the bench against Man United in a 3-1 victory he insists he will “never forget.”

The Swiss winger’s time on Merseyside has been strange, arriving from Stoke in a cut-price £13.75 million deal and contributing when called upon, but never fully trusted as a starter.

This season, he has played only 10 times, with persistent injuries hampering him at crucial stages, including when Jurgen Klopp had planned to utilise him in the FA Cup and League Cup.

As these could have served as platforms for Shaqiri to stake a claim for a prolonged role in the starting lineup, this campaign will be a ‘what could have been?’ for the 28-year-old.

Shaqiri is expected to leave Liverpool at the end of the season, but has remained a vocal part of the squad’s training sessions over Zoom during the Premier League‘s suspension.

And this week he took part in a Q&A on the club’s social media channels, in which he reflected on that afternoon at Anfield.

“It was a special game, a big derby obviously,” he said of the win over United.

“For me, I came on as a substitute and first of all it was important to help my team-mates to win the game.

“And, yeah, with my two goals we won the game in the end, a big derby game. So I will never forget this moment.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, May 7, 2019: Liverpool's Divock Origi celebrates scoring the fourth goal with team-mates during the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final 2nd Leg match between Liverpool FC and FC Barcelona at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Shaqiri was in line to take the corner that ultimately secured Liverpool’s place in last season’s Champions League final, but before he could assume his position Trent Alexander-Arnold had already taken it quickly.

That led to an immortal winner from Divock Origi, and unsurprisingly the winger was asked on his memories of the moment—though he admitted there were few.

“It was very quick,” he explained.

“And at the end of the day we scored a goal from that, a very important goal, so that was a very good goal!”

And he discussed the emotions around the win over Barcelona, and then going on to win the Champions League—a feat he has now accomplished twice in his career—and bringing the trophy back to Liverpool.

“This feeling was so amazing,” he said of the semi-final.

“It was very emotional, with the fans together, to celebrate this great win, and we’ll never forget it.

MADRID, SPAIN - SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2019: Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri (L) and Sadio Mane (R) lift the trophy after the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 2-0 tp win their sixth European Cup. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Winning the Champions League is an unbelievable achievement, first of all. Just unbelievable emotions when you lift this amazing trophy. And I won it twice, so I’m very proud of that.

“It’s just an unbelievable feeling, especially last year when we celebrated with the fans in the streets.”

There is a clear affinity between Shaqiri and Liverpool, even though his status in the squad may not reflect that, and if he does depart at the end of the season he should be remembered fondly.

It is a tough side to force a way into, and few made a better attempt at breaking up, or adding to, the front line of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino than the No. 23.