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Shaqiri should have been Liverpool’s Coutinho successor

According to reports from Football Insider, Sevilla are plotting a bid for Xherdan Shaqiri with Liverpool ready to cash-in on the Switzerland international.

What’s the word?

Shaqiri has managed just 10 appearances across all competitions during Liverpool’s title-chasing season, with three of those outings coming in either the Community Shield or the Club World Cup and just six coming in the Premier League – totalling a mere 174 minutes of top flight action.

According to Football Insider, Michael Edwards rebuffed a number of loan approaches for the attacking midfielder in January but Liverpool are now ready to part with him once the transfer window reopens, provided a club is willing to match their £28m valuation.

La Liga outfit Sevilla are keen on the 28-year-old and are even preparing a formal bid, while CSKA Moscow and Roma are interested as well – although it’s not clear whether any are willing to meet Liverpool’s asking price.

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Shaqiri should have been Coutinho 2.0

When Liverpool initially signed Shaqiri from Stoke for a mere £13.5m, he had all the hallmarks of a cut-price solution to the loss of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona the January prior.

Of course, there’s a reason the Swiss cost so little whereas the Brazilian left Anfield in a deal that could eventually be worth £142m, but there were clear similarities between the players as well. Both could operate as part of the midfield or the attack, both could create chances as well as score them and both could produce moments of potent magic from long-range.

In fact, albeit playing half a season more than the former Liverpool star, back in the 2017/18 season Shaqiri was one of just two players to score more Premier League goals from outside the box than Coutinho, the other being Kevin De Bruyne, while he ended that campaign with seven assists as well.

The chances of Shaqiri becoming as central a figure as Coutinho at Anfield were always slim, but he appeared the perfect addition for when Jurgen Klopp needed that type of player in his side – someone to unlock a water-tight defence, or circumvent it entirely by scoring from distance.

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For whatever reason though, it just hasn’t happened. Despite an impressive nine goal contributions in the Premier League during his debut term at Anfield, Shaqiri has slid down the pecking order to the point where he’s now surplus to requirements.

Injuries have been a factor, but perhaps this is as much an insight into how the game has changed in recent years. Klopp has traded a traditional No.10 for a midfield three with runners bursting forward, and that’s very much the case at many top clubs right now – which, coincidentally, is probably why neither Barcelona nor loan club Bayern Munich particularly want to retain his services.

Perhaps then, it’s just bad timing for Shaqiri, coming to a top club to replace a player whose type is going a little out of fashion. But either way, he’ll be left wondering why he’s not managed to make more of the void handed to him by a once-instrumental Liverpool player.

Article title: Shaqiri should have been Liverpool’s Coutinho successor

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