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'What's he done wrong?' - Klopp use of Shaqiri questioned by Liverpool legend Nicol

12:30 EAT 06/03/2019
Jurgen Klopp Xherdan Shaqiri Liverpool 2018-19
The Anfield forward has not been able to persuade his manager to give him a place in the starting line-up in recent games

Jurgen Klopp's use of forward Xherdan Shaqiri has 'bamboozled' former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol.

The Anfield side have slipped off the top of the Premier League after two 0-0 draws - against Manchester United and Everton - in their last three games.

Shaqiri, 27, was a late substitute at Old Trafford and an unused one in the Merseyside derby as Liverpool faltered and Manchester City regained pole position.

Nicol is puzzled by the lack of action for the Swiss - a summer signing from relegated Stoke - and says Liverpool need to refocus their title challenge.

“I would love to know [what Shaqiri’s done wrong]," he said in ESPN.

“I can’t believe that [Divock] Origi started [against Everton]. I can’t believe that, after taking him off, you put [Adam] Lallana on before you put Shaqiri on.

“So, I am absolutely bamboozled what he’s done wrong.

"I thought he should have brought Shaqiri on against [Manchester] United, instead he brings [Daniel] Sturridge on [first].

"So, I have no idea what Shaqiri’s done, because any time he’s stepped on the field for Liverpool, he’s made a difference.

“He’s either scored goals, he’s either offered up chances for team-mates, or at the very least he’s actually got the team going.

"That energy and that enthusiasm that he’s shown when he’s come on, we’ve seen it and anybody else who’s come on for Liverpool recently hasn’t changed the game whatsoever.”

Nicol believes Shaqiri could catch Klopp's eye in training.

“Most players want to follow a pattern, especially when they’re doing well, and when it goes wrong, they start looking for other patterns to do,” he said.

“Now, whether that makes any difference I don’t know, but psychologically it does. So, maybe he has to change training, maybe he calms training down for a couple of days and then gets it going towards the end of the week.

“Or maybe he goes the other way around. That’s part of Jurgen Klopp’s job, is to psychologically find out how to get his players playing. He knows that he can do it one way and it works, but you have to find another way.

“Because you have to have a Plan B.”

Liverpool sit just a point behind City in second, but Nicol is concerned by their form.

“Since Christmas, they have been so inconsistent,” he added. “I think they’ve dropped nine points in 11 games and we’ve only got nine games left.

"That’s not what you want to be doing this time of year. This time of year is about getting three points.

They return to Premier League action on Sunday when they host Burnley.