Xherdan Shaqiri’s biggest chance at Liverpool to date may have opened


It might be inaccurate to describe Xherdan Shaqiri as Liverpool’s forgotten man.
The Swiss seem to be constantly on the verge of coming back from injury and as such close to the vanguard of most fan thinking.

But, while he hasn’t quite escaped sight of it yet, there is no doubt that the past 18 months have not gone as smoothly as the player or the fans would have hoped.

Last season, the Reds followed the success of the Champions League by ending a 30-year wait for the Premier League title, but were forced to do so with little help from Shaqiri.

The forward collected just 300 minutes of action across all competitions last season – just under 6% out of a possible 5,190.

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Previously this would likely have been explained by the failure to dislodge Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino which characterized Shaqiri’s first campaign at Anfield.

However, this time his inability to step onto the court more frequently was actually due to an annoying calf problem.

The repeated setbacks thwarted nearly every return attempt and caused a major headache for the club’s mystified medical staff.

Unfortunately, they also don’t appear to have cracked the code until this season.

With 250 minutes already to his name, Shaqiri is not far from matching the tally of the last campaign before halfway.

But, in a start to the season which has seen Liverpool plagued with injuries, the 29-year-old has simply not been available often enough.

More concerning perhaps, sources confirmed that another calf issue was the reason for the player’s last absence.

Still, the good news is that, as Jurgen Klopp confirmed on Friday, Shaqiri is at least now on the brink of yet another comeback attempt.

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And, in a personal boost for the Switzerland international, an opening is ready and waiting if he can just put up a series of matches.

With Diogo Jota until late January (or even early February in the worst case) and Takumi Minamino struggling to convince, the Reds’ famous front three are in desperate need of support.

The frustration of the past few years would surely be quickly forgotten if Shaqiri intervened to fill this void in the weeks and months to come.

As far as fans are concerned, any key contribution to the Premier League title charge this season would certainly make up for his absence throughout the last one.


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