Liverpool supporters have been in high spirits in recent times after seeing their side secure an eighth Premier League win of the campaign on Saturday.
Jurgen Klopp’s men went into their encounter with newly-promoted Cardiff City having picked up 23 points from a possible 27 to start the campaign, thus sitting level on points with leaders Manchester City ahead of last weekend’s round of fixtures. And the Reds went top of the table on their own for 48 hours after breezing past Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds, with a brace from Sadio Mane alongside goals from Mohamed Salah and Xherdan Shaqiri inspiring the hosts to a 4-1 victory at Anfield.
As such, there have been many delighted Liverpudlians up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be intrigued by recent comments from Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson, who has hailed the Reds’ summer acquisition of Shaqiri as his signing of the season so far.
And in suggesting that he has ‘stepped up’ to the demands of manager Klopp, alongside the lowly price-tag they had to pay to lure him away from Stoke City, the former Arsenal midfielder is spot on to hail Liverpool’s summer masterstroke.
Ultimately, the future of the winger was always likely to be away from the bet365 Stadium following the Potters’ relegation from the Premier League last season, with Klopp’s Liverpool eventually the side to get a deal done for a paltry £13.5 million, as per his release clause.
And having produced his best goal-scoring season for Stoke last time round, and thus his best in English football, in netting eight goals and laying on seven assists in 36 Premier League games for the Staffordshire-based club, it was a deal many felt would seriously benefit Liverpool in their quest to challenge for the title.
Yes, the 27-year-old was never likely to dispose the likes of Salah, Mane, and Roberto Firmino from the starting eleven on a regular basis, but what his arrival has done is give Klopp another hugely accomplished option in that position, having netted once and laid on three assists already for the Reds.
The first eleven has not been too great a problem for the Merseysiders in recent times given just how strong it is, but it’s the depth that has been of concern – Shaqiri’s arrival has given them that in the forward ranks.
And as Merson rightly points out, Shaqiri has ‘stepped up’ to Klopp’s demands off the ball as well which is a far cry away from the winger that didn’t really fulfil those sort of duties during his time at Stoke – he appears to be a more well-rounded player now than during his stint at the bet365 Stadium.
Yes, one could well argue that his arrival has not been the signing of the summer given he hasn’t played too regularly, but he has been brought in because Liverpool needed greater options in the squad – as such, his signing has fulfilled that goal.
And in getting a supremely talented player for just £13.5 million during the summer, Merson is right to hail Liverpool’s masterstroke in luring Shaqiri to Anfield.
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