Jurgen Klopp is definitely not the only one at Liverpool who will be eagerly awaiting their upcoming UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie against Bayern Munich. Xherdan Shaqiri will be equally pumped to prove a point as he takes on his former club.
Shaqiri spent three years at Bayern Munich, but failed to really establish himself as the world class player that he was touted to grow into. Over three years, the Swiss international started just 26 games in the league and one in the Champions League. After failing to impress, he was shipped on loan to Inter Milan.
Shaqiri is now a better and more complete player than he was during his time with the German giants and he now has the perfect opportunity to prove a point. The Swiss has accepted the fact that he’s not a starter and hence might not start against his former team. But he serves as a great option on the bench and come on to dominate the game against tired legs after 60 minutes or so.
His versatility could prove to be a useful ammunition for Klopp. The 27-year-old is capable of playing anywhere in midfield and on the wings. If Klopp is forced to change the formation or tactical setup mid-game, Shaqiri’s versatility comes as a great boon in ensuring easy transition to a plan B. This was best exemplified by the midfielder’s performance after coming off the bench and leading Liverpool to victory earlier this season against arch-rivals Manchester United.
In all probability, he will play behind the front-three if he comes on and exploit the spaces that the movement of the likes Mohamed Salah creates. His creativity and shooting abilities make him a threat from that position.
Clearly, the 27-year-old is the kind of player who can make a lot of difference coming on as a substitute. Shaqiri has always had a penchant for coming up with wonderous strikes in big matches. That is something Klopp will be hoping for.
Now he has a chance to hurt his former club in a Champions League. It will be interesting to see how Shaqiri will seize this opportunity.