Liverpool have targeted some of the best players across Europe and unsurprisingly, they have missed out on many simply because they haven’t had Champions League football regularly. It’s pretty natural to see a target join a club who are playing in the knockout competition. One player, whose situation was different, though, is Xherdan Shaqiri.
The Swiss international was being tracked by Liverpool in 2014 and recently revealed that Merseyside was his preferred option back then until Bayern blocked the move the same year. At the time, he was struggling for game time despite making a big name for himself at Basel where he was called as the ‘Alpine Messi’.
Shaqiri always had the talent but his failed spells at Bayern Munich and Inter Milan were a body blow. His move to Stoke City was a bit of a surprise as there were arguably better offers from other clubs. His spell at Stoke has been patchy, to say the least.
The question is, though, would Shaqiri have been a good addition at Liverpool back then? Well, perhaps so. It was a time when Liverpool nearly won the league and sold their best player to Barcelona, so the need to sign a marquee player was not only important for the team’s sake, but also the fans, who didn’t want to see their club take one step forward and two steps back. As it turned out, they signed Balotelli.
Liverpool spent the Luis Suarez money carelessly and signed players like Lazar Markovic, who were unproven at the highest level. Markovic was played mostly on the right and he failed to show why Liverpool spent so much money on him.
The round pegs in square holes saga continued as Jordan Henderson was tried on the right and it simply didn’t work. Until the second half of the season, the team struggled for consistency and left it too late to salvage even a top four finish after a season where they should have won the league.
Signing Shaqiri could have been a massive problem solver as he would have been an ideal fit on the right. With pace on the flanks, Liverpool could have gone back to the counter-attacking football.
Of course, it’s a hypothetical situation and whether or not Shaqiri would have fired is still anyone’s guess. You can’t really blame the transfer committee nor Brendan Rodgers as they clearly wanted to sign the lad back then. Perhaps Bayern thought Liverpool as their rivals considering the Merseyside club were set to play in the Champions League!
Shaqiri has since said that he doesn’t regret what happened as it allowed him some time off the limelight. It’d take something special now though to earn a move elsewhere as he has been consistently inconsistent.