Klopp relieved Xherdan Shaqiri stayed to offer “massive impact” for Liverpool

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With Xherdan Shaqiri turning down a move away from Liverpool in the summer, Jurgen Klopp has expressed his relief that he can again call upon a “really good player.”

Shaqiri spent much of the last year-and-a-half on the sidelines, struggling with a recurring calf injury, and was then widely expected to depart in the transfer window.

In fact, the No. 23 was omitted from the Liverpool squad to take on Arsenal in the League Cup due to interest from a number of clubs in Germany and Italy, only to reject the chance to leave.

Now he is part of Klopp’s plans again, and having played the full 90 minutes in the 2-0 victory over Midtjylland in the Champions League, came off the bench to provide a sublime assist for Diogo Jota‘s winner against West Ham on Saturday.

The Swiss could be in contention for a starting place as the Reds travel to Atalanta on Tuesday night, and speaking ahead of that Champions League tie, Klopp lauded Shaqiri’s versatility and quality.

“Shaq can play on the wing, he has everything for that, but he’s a creative player,” he explained.

“He played for Switzerland in the No. 10 and they know a lot about football there, so they wouldn’t bring him there if they think he’s better in another position.

“Shaq is a versatile offensive player, he’s played for us obviously in the No. 8, the wing and now No. 10 when he came on.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 31, 2020: Liverpool’s match winning goal-scorer Diogo Jota (L) celebrates with Xherdan Shaqiri at the final whistle during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

“That’s all the positions he can play.

“He wasn’t not involved for disciplinary reasons or whatever. He was injured, unfortunately.

“Sometimes players have a bad run with injures, and sometimes players have a bad run with injuries, and that’s what he had.

“It wasn’t that he was that often injured, but the calf made some problems.

“Now everything is fine, which is good for him and even better for us, because we missed him last year in a lot of moments.

“It’s not that we wanted to keep him out of the team. He’s a good player, a really good player, who had a massive impact on pretty much all of the games he played.

“He was part of some of the biggest games in our common history, so we’re just happy to have him back.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 31, 2020: Liverpool’s manager Jürgen Klopp prepares to bring on substitutes Xherdan Shaqiri and Diogo Jota (L) during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

The manager also addressed the speculation over a summer exit for Shaqiri, and while he distanced himself from “rumours,” he anticipates them emerging again for January.

“That’s how it always is. The transfer window is there for rumours. Sometimes for talks, not all the time, but always for rumours!” he continued.

“And we are barely involved in these kinds of things. Whatever happened out there, I’m not even aware of.

“But I’m now really happy that he’s here. All the rest will start again in four, five, six weeks – I don’t exactly know when the next transfer window will open again.

“So we will see, but nothing really to say about it. The last transfer window feels like it was four years ago.”

It is unlikely Shaqiri will be allowed to leave mid-season, particularly as he has proven a useful option already this term, and instead, Klopp could be planning a bigger role for the 29-year-old in the middle of the park.

The situation shows how nothing is ever cut and dried, and with the Reds’ squad players coming to the fore in recent games, Shaqiri will be hoping for more opportunities from now.

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