Whilst delivering a masterclass in the third round of the Carabao Cup against a League One side is hardly the kind of level that top Premier League players should be judged by, there can be no question that a sharp-looking Xherdan Shaqiri sparkled for Liverpoon on Thursday night.
The Reds ran riot against Lincoln City, triumphing 7-2, with Shaqiri at the heart of some of the best play Jurgen Klopp’s side were involved in.
Reports in recent months have suggested the Switzerland international could be leaving Anfield in search of more first-team football, but his performance against Lincoln should have Klopp clamouring to keep him instead.
The 28-year-old opened the scoring for the Reds with a stunning free-kick inside ten minutes, and no doubt settled any nerves or worry of a potential cup-set.
But aside from his goal, Shaqiri looked threatening every time he picked up the ball, always looking to probe and create. As per Sofascore, he provided a game-highs of three key passes and seven crosses, whilst he boasted an 86% pass accuracy – especially impressive given that he wasn’t afraid to take risks with his choice of passes.
It was no surprise then that after the game Klopp was quick to praise the Swiss maestro. He said: “Super game from Shaq in a quite, I’m not sure unfamiliar, but a (different) position, slightly deeper in midfield. He did it really, really well. (Taking him off) was my fault, I thought he was afraid! He’s completely fine, he twisted his ankle but got absolutely nothing. He touched it twice, I thought it was his calf, but it’s nothing. He’s top fit. I think it was good to take him off then anyway.
“Really, really good game, the set-pieces were outstanding and especially the free-kick he scored, what a goal that was! There’s no doubt about Shaq’s quality, there never was, and in the moment everything looks really good. Really promising, then we will see.”
Whilst Curtis Jones stole the show with his two goals and Klopp hailing him as “exceptional“, Shaqiri delivered the kind of performance that should leave the Liverpool manager in no doubt that he should keep the former Stoke man at the club.