It doesn’t take much imagination to imagine that Xherdan Shaqiri left Liverpool this month.
Shaqiri justifies transfer decision
Xherdan Shaqiri was the brightest spark in Liverpool’s starting lineup against FC Midtjylland in the Champions League, but unfortunately two stars were disappointed with their latest chance
However, Shaqiri decided to make one last attempt, as he was resisting the possibility of leaving.
A start within 10 months told the story of the Swiss international after his Anfield career had almost come to a standstill due to injuries and the impressive form of his teammates.
As the transfer deadline approached, Shaqiri was sought by a number of clubs that had fallen into the pecking order at Anfield.
And in that Champions League group match against Midtjylland, both players and club benefited.
The relentless schedule – and there are five substitutes in Europe – provided Shaqiri with a surprising opportunity, which he readily accepted after an enthusiastic guest appearance in Holland last week.
But just as he impressed three in midfield – picking up the role in which he had scored and attracted attention at last month’s Carabao Cup in Lincoln City – so too was his work ethic and willingness to strike back.
No one ever doubted the quality of the Swiss. And this was also evident in the weight of the pass that freed Trent Alexander-Arnold in the inner field to cross for Diogo Jota and make the match-defining start.
Shaqiri may once again be playing for the regular first team.
Both Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino have a special affinity with the Champions League.
Origi and Minamino mess up their lines
Origi will be eternally popular with Reds fans for its glorious contribution to the final phase of Liverpool’s 2019 Triumph Run, while it was the competition in which Minamino forged its reputation against the Reds last season.
Unfortunately, this did not happen for either of them.
And since Jurgen Klopp took a well-deserved breather in the first half of the season, the duo – Minamino starting for the third time this season, Origi for the second – had a rare opportunity.
Origi is still the most hesitant left wing, and his restless contribution was not helped by the fact that he was at the end of some tough challenges from a visiting team that temporarily infuriated Klopp.
Although the Belgian’s star may be weakening, Minamino was probably the bigger disappointment here, his touchdown was far off, and his frustration was underscored by a stubborn foul shortly after losing possession of the ball, which left him beating the field in anger at himself.