Liverpool have received a double injury boost with two players who had recently been sidelined available to feature this weekend.
BBC reported that Xherdan Shaqiri could be included in the squad for Saturday’s Premier League visit to Crystal Palace, with Joe Gomez also available for selection.
The Swiss winger has been out of action for the last two months due to a calf injury, as per the Liverpool Echo, while the 22-year-old defender was forced to withdraw from the England squad last week with a knee problem incurred in national team training, as per Sky Sports.
This time last year, both players were enjoying regular action in Liverpool’s line-up – Gomez started 13 of the Reds’ first 15 league games last term before suffering a leg fracture, while Shaqiri was in the middle of a nine-game Premier League spell in which he scored six goals (as per TransferMarkt).
Both players have fallen down the Anfield pecking order since then, however. Gomez has made only one Premier League start this season, but that is still one more than Shaqiri has managed. Indeed, even before his calf injury, the Switzerland winger had played just 25 minutes for his club in 2019/20.
However, injuries to other players in their respective positions may see the duo handed a return to the starting line-up at Selhurst Park this weekend.
Mohamed Salah picked up an ankle injury earlier in the month which has seen him rated as doubtful for the match against the Eagles, while centre-back Joel Matip remains out of action due to a knee problem, as per BBC.
Whether Gomez or Shaqiri will be trusted to step in for that duo is uncertain, though. The England defender’s match averages of one successful aerial duel, 0.5 successful tackles and 0.3 interceptions pale in comparison with fellow centre-backs Matip, Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren.
The Swiss winger, who is without a goal in 2019, is likely to be competing with Divock Origi for a place in the forward line if Salah doesn’t make it for the Crystal Palace game; and while Shaqiri’s form in front of goal has plummeted this year, Origi’s has rocketed, with the Belgian scoring nine goals since the start of January.
The returns of Gomez and Shaqiri for the Selhurst Park trip broaden Jurgen Klopp’s options but neither player could feel overly confident of starting, given their form in relation to team-mates in similar positions.
If either (or both) of them are handed a start against Crystal Palace, though, they must seize the initiative and prove to their manager that they are worthy of more recognition, just as Matip has done – the Cameroonian had started only one league game in the first four months of 2018/19 but became a regular in the second half of the campaign (as per TransferMarkt).
Liverpool fans, would you start either Gomez or Shaqiri against Crystal Palace? Do you think they could earn back their places in Klopp’s first XI this season? Comment below with your views!
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience