Liverpool’s attacking options could be trimmed this month with news of a possible Anfield exit for winger Xherdan Shaqiri.
Sky Sport Italy have reported [via Daily Star] that Serie A side Roma are in negotiations with the 28-year-old about a deal which could involve an initial loan period with an option to make the transfer permanent.
According to the Daily Star, the Switzerland international is keen to obtain regular game-time at club level in the coming months ahead of his country’s participation at Euro 2020 in the summer, although Reds manager Jurgen Klopp wants to keep his current first team squad together until the end of the season.
Shaqiri has found game-time difficult to come by at Liverpool this season, with just three starts in all competitions and 256 minutes played in total. While his cause has not been helped by a couple of injuries earlier in the campaign, it is a little concerning that each of his seven substitute appearances in 2019/20 lasted 11 minutes or less, with the 28-year-old getting a solitary minute off the bench in last week’s win over Tottenham (as per TransferMarkt).
The Swiss winger has had to play backup to Mohamed Salah, who has been Klopp’s preferred option on the right-hand side of attack with 14 goals in 28 appearances this season. Although Shaqiri found the net on his first league start of the campaign against Everton in early December, Salah has since scored five goals and set up another three for the Reds.
Liverpool are certainly not stuck for attacking backup to the main front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Aside from Shaqiri, Klopp has Divock Origi to call upon, with the Belgian scoring five goals in 914 minutes of action this season, along with recent arrival Takumi Minamino, who had scored nine goals and supplied 11 assists in 23 games for Red Bull Salzburg this term before coming to Anfield. However, Shaqiri is the only natural right-sided alternative to Salah.
Shaqiri’s desire to obtain more regular game-time is understandable, especially with Euro 2020 on the horizon, but the winger is still capable of making an impact when called upon by Klopp. On the weekend that Liverpool host Manchester United, it’s worth recalling how the Swiss international came off the bench to score twice in a 3-1 win in the fixture last season.
The 28-year-old has scored seven goals and set up another five in just 1,699 minutes of game-time in total for the Reds, with an average of one goal per 242.71 minutes and an assist every 339.8 minutes. That is a decent return from a player who doesn’t often get the chance to shine at Anfield, and with Shaqiri being the only natural backup to Salah on the right wing, Liverpool should think carefully before deciding whether he is dispensable enough to go out on loan.
Liverpool fans, should the club let Shaqiri leave on loan this month or do they need to hold on to him in case Salah becomes unavailable or loses form? Comment below with your views!
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