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Klopp and Shaqiri have shown a close player-manager relationship since the summer..

Journalist writes comparison of Xherdan Shaqiri and Philippe Coutinho this season

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Not everybody was convinced when Liverpool decided to sign Xherdan Shaqiri last summer.

Everybody from fans on Twitter to Sky Sports' Gary Neville expressed their skepticism, but Shaqiri has taken all of four months to prove them wrong this season.

His transfer fee of £13.5 million from Stoke City is starting to look like a real bargain and the Swiss international has proven more than back-up for Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

He has played deeper in the midfield, delivering incisive passes into final third and still appears with important goals of his own.

There are even tentative suggestions from Liverpool fans that he could go on to replace Philippe Coutinho, an unlikely thought just a few months ago.

Coutinho criticised in Barcelona

And when you consider the questions being raised about Coutinho in Barcelona, the claims starts to look more and more justified.

Liverpool fans recently found an intriguing Barcelona forum that saw supporters heavily criticising Coutinho and even suggesting they should have signed Christian Eriksen instead.

So, how do Shaqiri and Coutinho actually compare at their respective clubs this season? 

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Shaqiri vs Coutinho

Well, that's a question that journalist Connor Dunn tried to solve in the Liverpool Echo this week and his comparison makes for very interesting reading.

"The Swiss attacker has been nothing short of superb when he has graced the pitch for Liverpool so far," Dunn reflected in his article.

"He has played in nine matches - coming on as substitute six times - and scored six times while also providing two assists.

"A creative spark that Liverpool were crying out for in Coutinho's absence appears to have arrived and it makes for excellent reading when you look at how the Brazilian is performing for Barcelona so far this season.

"The £142m-man has played in the same number of games in La Liga as Shaqiri has in the Premier League - though has had an extra 120 minutes on the pitch - but only scored four times and provided one assist.

"That looks like great and the reading gets better when you realise that Coutinho signed for Liverpool in January 2012 and played in 12 matches over the course of the season - scoring three times while providing five assists."

Well, there's really no debating it then.

Not only is Shaqiri completely outperforming Coutinho this season, but he's made a better start to life at Liverpool than the Brazilian did back in 2013.

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Dunn does concede that Coutinho was a younger player when he moved to Merseyside, yet that can't take away from Shaqiri's superb achievements in very little game-time.

It's certainly reassuring for Liverpool fans to hear because this time in 2018, there was real frustration at the prospect of Coutinho leaving the club.

He remains a superb player and would have been a major asset for Liverpool this season but Shaqiri is currently ensuring he isn't missed, too much.

Who do you think has performed the best this season - Coutinho or Shaqiri? Have your say in the comments section below.

Topics:
Football
Xherdan Shaqiri
Jurgen Klopp
Philippe Coutinho
Premier League
Liverpool

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