Jurgen Klopp has dropped another strong hint that Xherdan Shaqiri is set for a big role at Liverpool this season after the Swiss star’s new-found importance was underlined by the Reds boss.
Shaqiri, who almost left Anfield in the summer, has re-emerged from the shadows, having made five appearances this season.
It may not sound that much in one sense. However, the fact Klopp seems happy to turn to the Swiss star again shows how he could yet play a major role this season.
Indeed, Shaqiri managed just 265 minutes of football last season because of injuries and appeared to be destined for a summer exit.
Deployed in a midfield role rather than on the wing the Switzerland international has already developed a good understanding with new signing Diogo Jota.
And with Virgil van Dijk sidelined, Klopp appears to have abandonded his favoured 4-3-3 in favour of a more attacking line-up.
Indeed, during Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Manchester City, Klopp started in a 4-2-3-1 formation that made room for four attackers.
And when the time comes for one of the attacking four to be withdrawn, it seems Shaqiri now looks a preferred option.
“That’s an offensive line-up but if everyone is doing their job it’s an even more solid defensive formation, so we will see,” Klopp told Sky Sports before the game.
The system worked well in the game and could have even yielded more than a point for Liverpool. In the end, Klopp appeared happy. He even pointed out a stat from the game which paid his Liverpool players a big compliment.
Indeed, Shaqiri was the man he turned to from the bench to replace Roberto Firmino. It showed the manager’s confidence in the player once again.
Speaking ahead of the 5-0 drubbing of Atalanta in the Champions League, Klopp was keen to stress his importance.
“Shaq can play the wing, he has everything for that, but is a creative player and played for Switzerland on the No.10 [position],” he said.
“They know a lot about football there. They wouldn’t bring him there if they think he is better in another position.
“Shaq is a versatile offensive player. He played for us in the No.8, wing and now No.10 when he came on. That’s all the positions he can play.”
Klopp calls for rules change
Klopp, meanwhile, has expressed his anger with VAR and claims the laws need to change.
After Joe Gomez conceded a penalty after Kevin De Bruyne blasted the ball at his hands, Klopp spoke of his annoyance.
While he did not comment on the specific incident, he did, however, admit his frustration with the VAR system.
Klopp said: “I cannot speak about it because I didn’t see it yet. I don’t think it’s now too important but everybody is talking about it.
“It looked and it sounds to me that it’s obviously not 100 per cent clear. But I saw only Joe’s back in that moment when the ball hit him.”
Klopp also used Patrick Bamford’s disallowed goal for Leeds at Palace on Saturday as an example of how the current rules are wrong.
“But, yes, handball, offside, armpit – all these kind of things. I don’t know why we constantly talk about it. And why those who can really make a difference don’t talk about it much more.
“They might do it and are the only people in the world who think it’s exactly right like it is. It might be only us are the ones who think it’s not right like it is.
“I saw Saturday the (Patrick) Bamford armpit and it reminded me a lot of the Bobby Firmino armpit at Aston Villa (last season). I can’t wait for the first time a player scores a goal with the armpit.”