Wolverhampton: Xherdan Shaqiri proved his quality to Liverpool fans almost as soon as he arrived in July but it is only now that he is starting to suggest he can be a key figure in their Premier League title bid.
Shaqiri’s two goals as a substitute Sunday secured a 3-1 victory over Manchester United that took his team back to the top of the league and he hopes his reward will be a return to the starting line-up away to Wolverhampton Wanderers Friday.
The Switzerland international was arguably fortunate to get a move to Anfield five months ago, having been part of a relegated Stoke City side, even though he finished as their leading scorer in the Premier League with eight goals.
There were questions too over whether he had the necessary work ethic for the demanding Jurgen Klopp. Answering those questions has taken time, but he is getting there, as the Liverpool boss himself has acknowledged.
“Shaq needs time, it’s normal,” Klopp said. “He knows that he has so much potential still to improve. But of course he’s the guy for decisive moments, that’s how it is, and we have to make sure that it stays like this.”
Shaqiri, 27, announced himself in spectacular style, scoring with an overhead kick in an International Champions Cup win over Manchester United in Ann Arbor in July, days before stating in an interview that he felt his new club can win everything in the world.
If that statement seemed hubristic, it was at least made from a position of knowledge as to what it takes to be successful – Shaqiri was part of the Bayern Munich squad that won back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2013 and 2014.
That winning nous may well prove useful in a Liverpool squad full of talent but short on experience when it comes to winning league titles, although he has had to bide his time for his chance.