Liverpool are in high spirits going into the new season.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were impressive last campaign, but the German manager has added to his squad further this summer with a number of shrewd acquisitions.
There is a lot of excitement over the signings of Fabinho, Naby Keita and Alisson Becker; which arrived at the club for a combined fee of around £150 million.
But there is also a lot of intrigue surrounding the signing of Xherdan Shaqiri.
Shaqiri suffered relegation with Stoke City last season, but was rewarded for his efforts by sealing a £13 million move to Liverpool.
After impressing for Switzerland in the World Cup, the 26-year-old has already made his mark at Liverpool in pre-season.
Reds legend Phil Thompson has given his opinion of Shaqiri, and he’s raised an interesting point.
Thompson raved about Shaqiri’s ability, but also argued that his temperament means the move could end up like that of Balotelli’s.
“He’s a player, as we know, who is maybe not a workaholic at the moment like Klopp would like,” he said on Sky Sports, per the Daily Mail. “But my goodness he’s got an assist, he’s got a goal, set players.
“Shaqiri, yeah maybe a few problems about him, but he’s got this in his locker. Set plays, corner kicks, he delivers into dangerous areas.
“He’s going to a club now which in all intents and purposes a bigger club than what Stoke is. I think the expectations and the demands on him will be as it should be.
“At £13m it is a snip and I hope upon hope that this goes right for the boy. It could be a Balotelli move, then again it could be a Mane move and that is the thing.
“He’s got to learn and that is the only thing. This high-pressure game that Jurgen demands from everybody. Everybody has to fit in and Shaqiri has to bring that to the table.”
That’s the truth with Shaqiri. Signing him was always going to be a risk.
His work-rate is questionable at times, and the move has the potential to backfire if he fails to adapt to Klopp’s style of play.
But there’s no doubting his ability. He has already shown in pre-season that he could be a key player for Liverpool, and he’ll be looking to translate that form into the Premier League.
Shaqiri, meanwhile, has revealed that Liverpool have the potential to win titles this season.
“For me, nothing is impossible. We can be everything we want to be. We beat Manchester City in the league and the Champions League last season so I think we can beat anyone in the world.
“It has to be our ambition to compete with the best and to go on the field against whoever we play trying to win the game and dominate the game.
“Our aim is to win as many titles as possible. That is the goal of the club now and we are looking forward to the season.”
“I came here to try to win titles. I think this club needs to have this ambition to win titles, to play for titles, and to be one of the best teams in the world.
“It is one of the best clubs in the world and so now we try to show that on the pitch. Liverpool had a very successful and good season last year but we didn’t win a title. Now it is important to be very good again and to achieve that last thing.
“I think we now have the quality and a talented team who can play to win titles. It has to be our goal to try to be the best in the league.
“We want to compete with the biggest teams like Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona. They are the best teams in the world and Liverpool is also one of them.”