In a charged-up encounter between Serbia and Switzerland, the main talking point ended up being the “Albanian Eagle“.
Swiss stars Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka sank the Serbian brigade but it all came boiling down to the clashes in the Serbian region which resulted in the families of both players shifting to Switzerland.
For all the politics and numerous people affected and killed in that area, emotions cannot always be checked on the pitch and the Swiss pair made their mark on the scoresheet and in terms of making a statement too.
However, this isn’t going to be a long-drawn piece on politics, football or how the two may or may not mix. This is going to be about someone that we have been linked with for a number of years, Xherdan Shaqiri.
We were linked with a move for the Shaq when he was leaving Bayern but things haven’t gone well for him in recent years.
Moves to Inter and then Stoke City haven’t worked out so well but one thing is a certainty, Shaqiri is a quality player and on his day, the 26-year-old can be Messi-esque.
For all the talk about him not being qualified, just look at the goal he scored against Serbia. Taking the ball from the halfway line, Shaqiri made a dash with a good amount of control and composure to coolly slot the ball below the keeper. This wasn’t a fluke; this was class on the pitch.
Maybe it was the occasion of playing against the Serbs or maybe it was the history of what his family had to go through. Whatever it was, Shaqiri has proven that he is ready for the big moment and he did his bit on the pitch.
I know that transfers don’t work like they do in FIFA – we can’t just throw money at Stoke and hope Shaqiri joins us but for the love of football, I hope we are actively pursuing the Swiss man.
Alright, so he won’t replace Mohamed Salah and he probably won’t replace anyone in the front-three. That said, he will give us a rugged edge in the side, which is something we don’t have right now.
Shaqiri isn’t your regular European footballer. He seems to be built of sturdy stuff and even though his initials are XS, he is a big factor on the pitch.
Remember the goal against Everton? It might have been a fluke but it takes guts to try something like that and we need to have an X-factor in our side. Someone who is unpredictable, someone who can pull a freaking elephant out of a hat.
Shaqiri can also play in the midfield, meaning Klopp would be able to rotate the likes of Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Georginio Wijnaldum to bring a little bite to the heart of the park.
One might argue that Shaqiri can be a tad unreliable but we have numerous players to rely on to do good things on the pitch. Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, Salah, Sadio Mane and even Naby Keita could be the players we can depend on next season.
But on occasions when we are struggling to break down a defence and we need someone to do something crazy and win us the game? That person will be Shaqiri.
He is adept at taking the ball away from the opposition, running hard and thundering the ball into the back of the net. Either way, Shaqiri is a risk we need to try. No risk, no reward. It is time to back the Shaq again.