Jurgen Klopp has championed Xherdan Shaqiri’s return to form after the Liverpool winger remerged at Anfield this season.
Shaqiri, who almost left Anfield in the summer, has made four cameo appearances this season and scored in the EFL Cup win over Lincoln.
Somewhat unexpectedly Shaqiri, who managed just 265 minutes of football last season because of injuries and appeared to be destined for a summer exit, has had a re-emergence.
Deployed in a midfield role rather than on the wing the Switzerland international has played a key role in Jota’s last two goals.
Summer signing Jota is challenging for Roberto Firmino’s starting berth after three goals in as many games, two of which were winners and the other the important breakthrough against a determined Midtjylland side last week at Anfield.
“Shaq can play on the wing, he has everything for that, but he is a versatile, offensive player and he played for us as an eight, wing and no 10,” said Klopp.
“Yes he was not involved (last season)… it is not like we wanted to keep him out of the team but sometimes players have a bad run with injuries.
“But the calf makes no problems now and everything is fine, which is good for him and even better for us because we missed him last year in a lot of moments.
“He is a really good player and made a massive impact in pretty much all of the games he has played and was part of the biggest games (he played in the famous semi-final comeback against Barcelona) in our common history so we are just happy to have him back.”
Klopp hails Jota
Meanwhile, Klopp has revealed he knew it would not take long for Jota to get up to speed at Liverpool.
The former Wolves forward signed for Liverpool for £41m in September and he has already contributed massively for the champions.
The 23-year-old has four goals in nine games, including two winning goals in the Reds’ last two home Premier League games.
His arrival has been branded “clever” by pundit Gary Neville and Klopp says his speedy integration at Anfield has been “special”.
Asked about Jota’s form, Klopp, speaking via Zoom ahead of Tuesday’s date in Italy with Atalanta.
“He is good, he is how players should be when they join us,” said Klopp.
“He is at the best age, 23, already experienced. He’s a really good boy and a really good signing.