Despite a lack of creativity and generally looking nowhere near as good this season in the final third as they did last term, Xherdan Shaqiri has only been sparingly used by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp in the Premier League following his summer move from Stoke City.
Prior to Saturday’s clash with Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium the Switzerland international had featured for just 96 minutes of top-flight football, but injury issues and the congested fixture list meant that he was handed his second league start in Yorkshire.
The £13m signing may have expected to be featuring more regularly in the starting XI – especially after the club missed out on Nabil Fekir – but the German manager has often preferred to select the likes of Naby Keita, James Milner and Jordan Henderson in the middle of the park.
While he was substituted off at half-time in that previous start against Southampton last month, the 27-year-old was given the full 90 minutes to make an impact against David Wagner’s struggling Terriers, who had taken just three points from their opening eight Premier League fixtures during the current campaign.
Shaqiri may have got the assist for Mo Salah’s decisive goal in the 1-0 win against Town, but he perhaps didn’t make the general impact Klopp might have expected from him given the role he had been handed against a struggling side.
Taking into consideration that he didn’t have Sadio Mane (injured) or Roberto Firmino (benched) to work with, the Swiss ace made two key passes throughout the 90 minutes, but he had no shots on target, provided no accurate crosses and didn’t complete a single dribble – the latter of which is particularly surprising given the quality he usually provides on the ball.
Liverpool manager Klopp will be desperate for his frontline to find form again in order to further boost his side’s title aspirations, but it remains to be seen whether Shaqiri will get another chance in an attacking midfield role following his display against Huddersfield.