Friday 20 September 2019

'I do not care what he says' - Xherdan Shaqiri quick to dismiss Gary Neville's criticism as he shines at Liverpool

Xherdan Shaqiri has started the season in fine form for Liverpool. Photo: Reuters
Xherdan Shaqiri has started the season in fine form for Liverpool. Photo: Reuters Newsdesk Newsdesk

Xherdan Shaqiri has answered plenty of his critics with some impressive performances for Liverpool this season and he is particularly happy to have silenced Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville.

Former Manchester United defender Neville suggested he was 'not a fan' of Shaqiri as he failed to steer Stoke away from the Premier League's relegation zone last season and he also expressed some reservations over his ability to fit into Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool team.

Yet Shaqiri has been a shining light in a Reds line-up that has struggled to find their best form this season, with the Switzerland international quick to dismiss Neville's comments in an interview with Bilk.

"I do not care what he says," said Shaqiri. "Many have ridiculed after the transfer that Liverpool is too big for me. But I was always calm, too, when I got little playing time at the beginning.

"I knew, of course because of the experience at Bayern and Inter, that I have to be patient, work focused and then take my chance when I get it."

Meanwhile, Liverpool goal scoring great John Aldridge has suggested Shaqiri deserves a starting spot in the Liverpool line-up in place of the misfiring Roberto Firmino.

"Klopp needs to find a spot for Xherdan Shaqiri in his starting line-up and I'm sorry to say it needs to be at the expense of the misfiring Roberto Firmino," states Sunday World columnist Aldridge.

"You have respect Klopp for giving Firmino so much time to find his form after what has been a horrible start to the season for his Brazilian forward, but now he needs to leave him on the bench as he has not been contributing for Liverpool over the last couple of months.

"For me, Firmino has been the missing link this season as while Salah and Mane have not been at their best at times, we saw the best of them last season when their Brazilian colleague linked everything together with his guile and movement.

"I’m not sure what’s wrong with Firmino, but he got a new contract not so long ago and a big pay rise can have a negative effect on a player and it might also be that the lad has lost his confidence because he has been in a rut for a long time now.

"By contrast, Shaqiri has looked fantastic when he has come off the bench or on the rare occasions when he has been given a start, with the hunger shown by the Swiss international highlighting how desperate he is to make the most of his move to Liverpool.

"Plenty of cynics suggested Shaqiri would not make it in Klopp’s set-up when he made the move from Stoke last summer, as the pressing game he demands did not appear to be suited to a player who has been accused of being lazy at his previous clubs.

"Well, Shaqiri has silenced that criticism in the last few weeks and when a player ticks as many boxes as he has so far, a manager has to pay attention.

"So when Klopp names his team to play Watford next Saturday and then heads into what has become a crucial Champions League game away from home against Paris Saint-Germain, I would like to see him making the bold move of getting Shaqiri into his side.

"He has used him in a central midfield role at times this season and that is certainly a selection he should be making for all home matches from now on, especially against the teams in the bottom half of the table."

Online Editors

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