Monday 20 May 2019

Liverpool new-boy Xherdan Shaqiri not bothered by Neville brothers' criticism

Shaqiri is focused only on becoming a success at Liverpool, four years after his hopes of joining the club were ruined by former club Bayern Munich. Photo: Reuters
Shaqiri is focused only on becoming a success at Liverpool, four years after his hopes of joining the club were ruined by former club Bayern Munich. Photo: Reuters

John Percy

Xherdan Shaqiri has hit back at his critics and insists that he has no point to prove in the Premier League after his £13 million (€14.6m) move to Liverpool.

Shaqiri is targeting a title challenge and silverware under Jurgen Klopp following his move from relegated Stoke, who will officially begin life as a Championship club next weekend.

Klopp has claimed buying Shaqiri was a "no-brainer", but the Switzerland international was defending his reputation yesterday in New Jersey, speaking for the first time since Liverpool triggered his release clause.

Gary and Phil Neville branded Shaqiri "unprofessional" and "a disgrace" respectively, while former team-mate Charlie Adam accused him of going missing as Stoke were relegated after 10 years as a top-flight club. But Shaqiri has pointed to his statistics last season - with eight league goals and seven assists - and said his conscience was clear.

"They (the Nevilles) were Manchester United players. Maybe they don't like Liverpool! Some people like you, some people don't like you. I don't want to comment on what is said by people I don't know," he said.

"I think I played three years already in the Premier League and I've proved I can play here. I can score goals and give assists. I know the league well. I have a lot of experience. I think my score points speak for themselves. I was the top scorer in the team with goals and assists, so I don't have to say any more.

"I think everybody knows that (I was the best player last season). My conscience is clear."

Shaqiri is focused only on becoming a success at Liverpool, four years after his hopes of joining the club were ruined by former club Bayern Munich. He had been a target for former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, but now he is finally at Liverpool he is determined to rediscover the form which once earned him the nickname 'the Alpine Messi'.

He won two Bundesliga titles and the Champions League with Bayern, also playing for half a season with Inter Milan, and the 26-year-old is convinced he has the qualities to become a key player for Klopp.

"Every player wants to play on the biggest stages in football. I have played for big teams. I know what it takes. I won many titles with Bayern Munich so I know how it is to be on the big stage. I am really happy to have this opportunity," he said.

"You have competition all over the world, not only in football, in normal life too. Everyone fights for his place, but in the end we have many games to play and everybody is going to play games.

"Everybody knows that a few years ago I wanted to come here but for some reasons it didn't work out. Of course I was disappointed after.

"We had many discussions at the time in Germany with the club because I wanted to come here but they blocked it. Now I am finally a Liverpool player and I'm very happy to have this opportunity."

Shaqiri joined up with his Liverpool team-mates in the United States earlier this week and is expected to make his debut against Manchester United in the International Champions Cup on Saturday. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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