Shaqiri justifies the transfer decision
It does not take a big leap of imagination to portray Herreddon Shaqiri leaving Liverpool this month.
As the transfer deadline approached, Shaqiri was wanted by a number of clubs who fell on the order to dive at Anfield.
One start in 10 months told the story, the Swiss national team player saw his career at Anfield come to a standstill due to injuries and the impressive form of his teammates.
However, Shaqiri decided to give it to him for the last time, resisting the possibility of him leaving.
In this match of the groups of the Champions League against Midtjylland, the player and the club profited.
The relentless schedule – and the five deputies rule in Europe – gave Shaqiri a surprise that he voluntarily accepted after an enthusiastic cameo in the Netherlands last week.
Want more feedback – including Jurgen Klopp’s press conference – get the post-game post HERE
No one ever doubted the quality of the Swiss. And it was obvious with the weight of the pass that released Trent Alexander-Arnold within the area to pass for Diogo Iota to seduce the net into the opening hole to define the game.
But how he equally impressed in midfield three – repeating the role he played in and attracting Lincoln City to the Carabao Cup last month – was with his work ethic and willingness to bring them back.
Shaqiri can once again play a regular showdown in the first team.
Origi and Minamino are waving their lines
Both Divok Origi and Takumi Minamino have a special affinity with the Champions League.
Origi will forever be loved by Reds fans for his famous contribution to the final stages of Liverpool’s triumphant 2019 series, while it was a competition in which Minamino captured his reputation against the Reds last season.
And, as Jurgen Klopp gave a well-earned breath to his regular front trio, the duo – Minamino made their third start of the season, Origi – his second – got a rare opportunity.
Unfortunately, that just didn’t happen to any of them.
Origi remains the most unprepared of the left wingers, his contribution did not help as it was the end of some difficult challenges from the guest side whose solution at times left Klopp furious.
If the Belgian star might fall, Minamino was probably the biggest disappointment here, his touch was off and his frustration was highlighted by a penalty foul shortly after he lost possession that left him beating the grass in a fit of rage.
Iota, playing from the right side, continued his happy performance of goals and has already risen as the first substitute for the established line forward, as on Saturday, he does not start with them.
And Mohamed Salah’s penalty during injury took him to seven goals in 10 games for the season and was his 13th goal in 17 appearances in the Champions League at Anfield. There is never any doubt about the Egyptian.
European night like no other
The logo of the tournament was decorated around the stadium. The competing ball was trampled through the grass.
The number six was proudly glued to the sleeves of Liverpool players.
And, of course, unexpectedly just before the start of the match came the exciting anthem of the Champions League, a real fist in the bathtub unlike the last weak effort in the Premier League.
At the time, everything was in place for the Anfield brand European night.
Except for one key aspect. Supporters.
Not since Liverpool’s last home side in Europe, in their defeat to Atletico Madrid in March, allowed fans to follow Jurgen Klopp’s side in competitive action.
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Across Europe, that’s another story, with a number of countries allowing a limited number – 7,000 fans watching Lokomotiv Moscow entertain Bayern Munich earlier on Tuesday – and embracing a temporary new way of life.
The coronavirus will not go away any time soon. Industries, guided by appropriate government advice, will have to adapt or continue to thrive.
And that must, in the coming weeks, allow for a gradual return of the fans.
As someone who has been lucky enough to attend almost every game in Liverpool since the lock-up, let me assure you – professional football is simply not the same without fans. You need to come back sooner rather than later.