Liverpool head into their Premier League clash versus Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday with Sadio Mane as a possible doubt for the game.
Mane suffered a broken thumb while on international duty with Senegal (Sky Sports), and pictures have since come out of the Liverpool forward with a bandage on his left hand alongside an X-ray image of the injury.
Manager Jurgen Klopp will now be assessing all of his options in case Mane is unavailable for Liverpool’s upcoming fixture. And should the 26-year-old be unable to play, there is only one player the German should look towards as a replacement: Xherdan Shaqiri.
Given the impact Daniel Sturridge has had during this campaign thus far, Klopp may be tempted to hand the England striker a start in any potential absence of Mane.
However, the game against Huddersfield is one where Klopp would probably be better off going with a like-for-like replacement such as Shaqiri.
There is only one way David Wagner and his side will approach the encounter, and that is in a defensive manner which will undoubtedly see two banks of four set out to try and frustrate the Reds.
With that in mind, Shaqiri’s inclusion in the starting XI could be pivotal if Mane is not deemed fit.
The 27-year-old’s ability to penetrate defences with his dribbling is exactly the kind of weapon Liverpool will need on the day, while his long-range shooting ability could also prove to be another asset when Liverpool arrive at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Given his game time at Anfield has been limited, Shaqiri has only been able to show glimpses of his truly quality.
But Saturday could provide the Switzerland international with the opportunity to display the whole package.
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