Xherdan Shaqiri’s game-changing moment and impact against Man United
After a couple of frustrating years of Manchester United holding Liverpool at Anfield, the Reds erupted to a 3-1 victory this weekend as they maintained their place at the summit of the table. Jurgen Klopp’s men ran riot at home, accumulating a total of 36 attempts in the game.
Manchester United, on the other hand, had a total of just 6 attempts across the game, scoring 1 goal in that time, which came from Alisson’s mistake. Liverpool once again showed their dominance at the back and looked to attack Jose Mourinho’s side at every chance they got.
There was fire in the eyes of the Reds while Manchester United looked a beaten side despite scoring an equalising goal before the half-time. But the star who stole the headlines was Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri once again.
The former Stoke City winger was brought off the bench in the second half and immediately asserted his influence, sealing three points for the Reds. Shaqiri scored two superb goals, though both took vital deflections, but credits to the Liverpool midfielder for his effort.
The Swiss winger has continued to add a new dimension to this Liverpool team whenever called upon. His drive, energy and ability to add bite in the final third have always troubled the opposition.
Questions were raised over the Swiss international’s move to Anfield this Summer as many wondered if he would buy into Klopp’s philosophy. Not only has he seamlessly bought into it but Shaqiri has become a cult hero at the club.
Klopp picked the perfect time to bring on the Swiss winger given he has been a lot more effective with tired legs in the opposition team. The Manchester United defenders were already put to the test by Liverpool’s front three and by the time Shaqiri showed up, they just had no energy left.
The 27-year-old took two shots on target, both of which resulted in goals. He also supplied 1 key pass and looked good in the buildup. Shaqiri was brought on in the 70th minute for Naby Keita and the Swiss international played on the right flank, although his role gave him a lot more freedom to move into the central areas. (Stats courtesy – Whoscored)
This constantly troubled the Manchester United defenders as they already had a job on their hands, with Mohamed Salah occupying the striker’s role. Added to that, Roberto Firmino kept dragging defenders out of their position which allowed Shaqiri to make runs into the spaces.
The former Stoke City star certainly possessed the legs for it at such a crucial time and he did so well to show up at the right places at the right time.
Xherdan Shaqiri now has 5 goals and 2 assists in 13 Premier League appearances this season, of which 6 of those have come off the bench, underlining his influence on the attack. The 27-year-old has truly justified the price that Liverpool paid to land him in the summer and he now looks a proper unit under Jurgen Klopp.