Liverpool were struggling to break down Aston Villa’s young defence on Friday night before Jurgen Klopp opted to introduce Xherdan Shaqiri just after the hour mark.
The Reds were drawing at half-time and had just re-taken the lead through Georginio Wijnaldum when the Swiss international was brought on and he quickly emphasised his class, registering two assists in less than five minutes.
First, he clipped a cross into the box which was met by Sadio Mane, and the former Southampton man’s looping header was enough to beat young Akos Onodi in the Villa goal.
Shaqiri was the provider once again just two minutes later as after being found by an incisive Thiago pass, he found Mohamed Salah and the Egyptian’s shot on the turn made it 4-1.
Therefore, whilst Thiago might pick up a lot of the plaudits after he helped the Reds turn the game around from the bench, Shaqiri demonstrated that he can be a really important player in Klopp’s squad this season.
As per SofaScore, the former Bayern Munich man picked up a 7.8 rating for his display, with only Mane, Salah and James Milner rated higher.
During his time on the pitch, Shaqiri, who earns £80k per week at Liverpool, would have 30 touches of the ball, completing 19/23 passes, which resulted in a solid pass accuracy rate of 83%.
Perhaps most impressively, the winger would contribute three key passes during his brief time on the pitch, which proves how effective he can be when trying to break down an opposition defence.
The Swiss international was widely expected to leave Liverpool during the summer transfer window ahead of this season and the arrival of Diogo Jota has meant that his playing time has been limited even further, as he has managed just two starts in all competitions, and just four appearances from the bench in the Premier League.
However, his performance against Villa, despite the nature of the opposition, proves that Shaqiri still has a role to play in this Liverpool side, and he can help the Reds overcome their recent woes in front of goal.