Am Close To The First Eleven, Very Close – Xherdan Shaqiri *Prefers A No 10 Role.
The winger has only made two starts for the Reds since joining for a cut-price fee from relegated Stoke in the summer.
But the Swiss star has shown promise, particularly in his first Premier League start in which he played a major role in two of Liverpool’s three first-half goals.
That game, Shaqiri took up an unusual role as the most advanced player of a three-man midfield and effectively played as a No 10 – a position he played in several times in pre-season.
That’s with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah – who contributed 64 goals last term – ahead of him in the pecking order in his usual positions out wide.
Despite Shaqiri’s display against Southampton, he was taken off at half-time with Klopp not satisfied with his team’s defensive organisation while playing with Shaqiri in a new role.
But he hinted that Liverpool could try it out again later in the season, saying: “Offensively it was a good idea. But we have to work on that more often. But he was good and I liked it.”
And the 27-year-old has suggested he too would like to try out operating as a play-maker again, despite having played on the right flank the Carabao Cup clash in Chelsea.
“It is certainly different if you as a player have such freedom [as a No.10],” Shaqiri told Swiss publication Blick.
“The trainer [manager] gives me the freedom and I try to use it so that I can help the team as much as possible with decisive passes or with shots.
“Against Portugal I almost had to play as right-back. I play where the coach sets me up.
“But sure, on the side you have more defensive work than in the middle.
“I know that from Bayern Munich. There I also played as a full-back.”
Much was made of a heated exchange between Klopp and summer signing Shaqiri on the pitch after Liverpool’s Carabao Cup exit to Chelsea last month.
But Klopp explained that his frustration towards Shaqiri was over a late wasted free-kick rather than his general performance.
And ex-Bayern Munich and Inter Milan attacker Shaqiri insists he gets on well with his manager at Anfield.
“I have a very good relationship with [Klopp],” said Shaqiri.
“It is a lot of fun to work [with him]. We did not talk much about the League of Nations.
“I am happy. I think I’m relatively close to the first 11. Very close.”