It’s fair to say that Xherdan Shaqiri has exceeded most people’s expectations following his £13.5 million move to Liverpool from Stoke City in the summer.
The Switzerland international - labelled “unprofessional” and a “disgrace” by former Manchester United players Gary and Phil Neville during the World Cup finals in Russia - was unable to prevent the Potters from being relegated to the Championship at the end of last season.
However, Jurgen Klopp clearly felt that Shaqiri would improve his squad - and the stocky attacking midfielder hasn’t let his new manager down.
Liverpool fans were understandably apprehensive about Shaqiri’s arrival, but they’ve already fallen in love with him thanks to his impressive performances for the Merseyside outfit.
In nine Premier League appearances for the Reds, Shaqiri has scored two goals and registered four assists. He’s making it increasingly difficult for Klopp to leave him out of Liverpool’s starting line-up.
One man who doubted that Shaqiri would shine at Anfield is former Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam, whose scathing assessment of his ex-Stoke teammate caused a stir in the summer.
Adam claimed Shaqiri was one of several ‘so-called big players’ at Stoke who got away with murder last season. Shaqiri later responded by suggesting Adam was jealous that he’d sealed a move to Liverpool.
But what does Adam think of Shaqiri following his first four months at Anfield?
The Scottish midfielder, speaking on Goals on Sunday, gave his honest opinion about his former teammate’s performances.
“Listen: he went to Liverpool and he’s done incredible, so fair play to him,” Adam commented.
“I said what I said but he’s a wonderful player, no doubt about that.
“It was just a worry, would he get into Liverpool’s team? How would Liverpool find space in their team for him?
“But he’s got in and hasn’t looked back now.”
Fair play to Adam for eating humble pie and admitting Shaqiri has been excellent for the Reds.
However, he reiterated his belief that Shaqiri is not the ideal player when it comes to fighting against relegation.
“I don’t think he was,” Adam continued, “but listen: he’s got a wonderful talent and his game probably suits playing for a bigger club with better players.
“His awareness to pick a pass and see things that other players don’t - and we probably didn’t have enough players at his level.
“I criticised him because I felt when we were in a dogfight, we probably needed different types of characters - a Jon Walters, a Glen Whelan - they were the types of characters we needed.
“The little man can score goals out of nothing but we were low on confidence and couldn’t carry anybody of that ability without the other side of the game.”
Adam also admitted that Stoke probably lacked players of sufficient quality to bring the best out of Shaqiri last season.
“We probably never had the quality around him to get him the ball enough - and maybe that was the problem,” he conceded.
“Maybe we weren’t good enough at winning the ball back; maybe we didn’t have enough players in the team doing the opposite side of the game to get him the ball to win us the game.”