Liverpool analysis – Xherdan Shaqiri justify transfer decision but Takumi Minamino...

Liverpool analysis – Xherdan Shaqiri justify transfer decision but Takumi Minamino...
Liverpool analysis – Xherdan Shaqiri justify transfer decision but Takumi Minamino...
Shaqiri justifies the transfer decision

It doesn’t take a big leap of imagination to imagine how Xherdan Shaqiri left Liverpool this month.

As the transfer deadline approached, Shaqiri was wanted by a number of clubs that had broken the pecking order at Anfield.

A start in 10 months told the story when the Swiss international nearly stalled his career at Anfield due to injuries and the formidable form of his teammates.

However, Shaqiri decided to try again and resisted the opportunity to leave.

Both players and club benefited from this clash of the Champions League against Midtjylland.

The relentless schedule – and the five substitutes rule in Europe – has given Shaqiri a surprising opportunity that he willingly embraced after an enthusiastic performance in Holland last week.

Further reactions – including Jürgen Klopp’s press conference – can be found HERE in the podcast after the game

Nobody has ever doubted the quality of the Swiss. And that was shown by the weight of the pass that Trent Alexander-Arnold cleared in the area so that Diogo Jota scored the game-defining start.

But how he impressed equally in midfield three – when he reiterated the role in which he met and attracted attention at the Carabao Cup in Lincoln City last month – was his work ethic and willingness to track back.

Shaqiri may find its way back to regular first-team accounting.

Origi and Minamino fluff their lines

Both Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino have a special affinity for the Champions League.

Origi will forever be loved among the Reds for his glorious contribution to the final stages of Liverpool’s triumphant run in 2019, while it was the competition in which Minamino cemented its reputation against the Reds last season.

And since Jürgen Klopp gave his regular top three a well-deserved break, the duo – Minamino made his third start of the season, Origi his second – had a rare opportunity.

Unfortunately, it didn’t happen to either of them.

Origi remains the most reluctant of the left wingers. His restless contribution did not mean that he was at the end of some tough challenges from a visiting team, whose duels made Klopp angry at times.

If the Belgian star wears off, Minamino was arguably the bigger disappointment here, his touch-off and frustration underscored by an irritated foul shortly after losing possession that made him hit the grass with himself in anger.

Jota, who plays on the right, continued his lucky talent and has already made a name for himself as the first replacement for the established line of strikers when he did not participate like on Saturday.

And Mohamed Salah’s injury time penalty got him seven goals in 10 games of the season and was his 13th goal in 17 Champions League games at Anfield. There is no doubt about the Egyptian.

European night like no other

The tournament logo was decorated around the stadium. The match ball hissed across the lawn.

The number six was proudly emblazoned on the sleeves of the Liverpool players.

And of course, just before kick-off, the rousing anthem of the Champions League rang out, a real tub knock in contrast to the recent weak efforts of the Premier League.

So everything was prepared for a European night in Anfield.

Except for one important aspect. Supporter.

Since Liverpool’s last home game in Europe when they lost to Atletico Madrid in March, fans have not been allowed to see Jürgen Klopp’s team in competition.

* Who was your MOTM last night? Cast your vote in our short poll.

It’s a different story across Europe: in some countries a limited number is allowed – 7,000 fans saw Lokomotiv Moscow the Tuesday before at Bayern Munich – and adopted a temporary new way of life.

Coronavirus is not going to go away anytime soon. Industries led by appropriate government advice must adapt or move on.

And that has to allow the fans to return gradually in the coming weeks.

As someone lucky enough to play almost every Liverpool game after the lockdown, I can assure you that professional football is just not the same without fans. You have to be back sooner rather than later.

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