Liverpool have arguably one of the best frontlines in Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

While Klopp might not have equally talented players to cover for the trio with regards depth, a certain player has been long forgotten.

Liverpool have played five matches so far this season including both cup contests, and Xherdan Shaqiri has been on the pitch for a grand total of 15 minutes.

In all three Premier League fixtures, the Swiss international has remained unused, with his only appearance coming in the Community Shield as the Reds chased a result.

Once arriving on Merseyside, the 27-year-old made quite the impact – eventually forcing Jurgen Klopp into altering his preferred formation to accommodate his qualities in a 4-2-3-1 shape, rather than the usual 4-3-3.

That switch was only employed for certain opponents, though, with Klopp embracing Shaqiri’s offensive qualities largely when the team were tasked with breaking down a stubborn, deep defence.

Shaqiri isn’t particularly known for his work rate or his defensive output, but when tasked with finding a key to the door, he’s proved he can be effective.

Looking ahead, considering Shaqiri and his traits, where may Klopp use him?

His inclusion at this weekend against Burnley would make a degree of sense, considering their determined defensive approach to the game, but there would also be some risk to such a decision. Turf Moor is a notoriously difficult ground to visit, and Sean Dyche’s team are incredibly physical, with an emphasis placed on maximising the efficiency of set-piece situations.

Shaqiri is only 5ft 7inches tall, so he’d be ineffective when defending in those moments. Also, Klopp’s 4-3-3 tends to offer more control and stability compared to the more erratic and chaotic 4-2-3-1, and considering the aggressive opposition in question, perhaps the former formation would make more sense.

After the international break, though, Liverpool face Newcastle at Anfield.

Shaqiri will likely have gained playing time representing Switzerland during the break from Premier League football, and he could carry that rhythm into the match against Steve Bruce’s side.

Newcastle have posted the lowest average possession share in the league so far with just 33.3%. They have also scored only one goal having taken the second-fewest shots, meaning they don’t offer much of a threat offensively.

Defensively, though, they appear a little better, having faced 37 shots which is enough to place them 12th.

This is the ideal scenario for Shaqiri, considering the lack of attacking threat held by the opposing team, as well as their resolute approach to defending.

The Swiss attacker’s game is very direct, and he won’t think twice before taking risks in possession, which can often cause problems defensively.

Shaqiri posted a passing accuracy of just 79.5% in all competitions last season, for example, which would commonly be considered as bad compared to Gini Wijnaldum who managed 91.7%.

However, those figures derived from the risks Shaqiri took when assuming possession in contrast to Wijnaldum. In the Premier League last season, for example, only one player averaged more through passes per 90 minutes, in Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne.

After the Newcastle game, Liverpool then face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, which isn’t perhaps suitable for Shaqiri, followed by Sheffield United, who look more applicable.


With the Liverpool boss’ recent comments suggesting that minutes are on the horizon, it’s likely that the Swiss will be involved in matches whereby his skills and qualities will have a positive impact, rather than his weaknesses influencing proceedings negatively.

Beyond the prospect of Sheffield United, Shaqiri would be suited to facing the likes of Aston Villa, Brighton and Watford, as well as the weaker sides that the Reds will face in upcoming cup competitions.

Shaqiri’s chance to make an impression will come, but because of his profile, he will have to wait until he’s suited to the task at hand.