Liverpool finished well adrift of Manchester City in the 2017/18 campaign, a whopping 25 points adrift in fact, but the manner in which the Reds comfortably dispatched of Pep Guardiola’s City slickers in the Champions League suggested that the next campaign could go right down to the wire.
With the likes of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva working in tandem, Man City completey dominated the Premier League last season and became the first side to breach the 100-point mark, putting the icing on the cake of an astonishing season.
However, Liverpool had to be content with a 4th place finish despite playing some very impressive football throughout the season. The Reds also set up a Champions League final date with Real Madrid back in May, but after Mo Salah departed the field inside the first-half Jurgen Klopp’s men looked devoid of ideas and attacking inspiration.
The glaring lack of fluidity in the final-third illuminated the over-reliance Liverpool had on Salah as the season developed, but if they wish to catch Man City at the top of the table next season they cannot continue to wait for the electric Egyptian to provide the lions share of their attacking spark.
Klopp has already taken his first step to resolving that issue with the signing of Xherdan Shaqiri, but the Switzerland international is hardly a world-beater and will struggle to match anything close to the level set by Salah.
Meanwhile, at the Etihad Stadium, Man City have recently completed the signing of Riyad Mahrez. Pep Guardiola’s latest acquisition represents a genuine statement of intent from the Citizens ahead of the new season, as there is no doubt the Algerian possesses a frightening ability to bamboozle defenders and create plenty of chances for the club.
Liverpool are the side who look most likely to challenge Man City next season based on their performances against the Premier League champions last season, but the fact City have signed Mahrez suggests they still have a significant advantage over the Reds.
If Liverpool were serious about pipping City to the title next season they should have thrown caution to the wind and splashed the cash on a versatile attacking player with plenty of potential to thrive at Anfield, but instead they decided to play it safe with a cut-priced deal for a Europa League standard player.
With these points to consider, here are two players Liverpool should have signed instead of Shaqiri…