Former Liverpool midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri gave a wide-ranging media session on Wednesday, where numerous football/soccer topics were covered. The Chicago Fire midfielder discussed: the Lionel Messi to MLS transfer rumors, World Cup favorites and underdogs, and whether Jhon Duran should go to Manchester United or Liverpool.
Shaqiri was also asked about the really difficult start that the Merseyside club has had in the Premier League, and some of the reasons for it.
Tottenham vs Liverpool FYIs
Kick Off: Nov 6, 2022, at 4.30 pm UK at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
“Yeah, it was difficult start for them, but I’m sure they’re going to come back,” Shaq said about what has transpired with the Reds this term.
“They have the quality, but this is football sometimes; you cannot be always on the top, and the last few years Liverpool were always on the top and everything went well, but of course now maybe the other teams know a bit how to play against Liverpool.
“For me this is pretty normal in this kind of situation because it cannot always be top-top, you know. Yeah, this is normal in football. You cannot always be in the best shape, and probably Liverpool has not had the best start. But there are still many games to play, and I’m sure they’re going to come back.”
How bad have things gotten for Liverpool this season? Well, refer to Stuart Kavanaugh, in our LFC Starting XI Prediction for this Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur:
Liverpool’s away form is the worst it has been in over 15 years. The Reds are without a victory in their last five matches played away from home. The last time they suffered such a severe run away from Anfield was under the tutelage of Rafa Benitez during the 2006/07 season.
The silver lining there is they would manage to finish third in the league that season.
We also discussed Liverpool’s slump in form as one of the main talking points on this week’s edition of our podcast.
That anecdote sort of serves to Shaqiri’s point, the Reds can course correct, still, this season. There is plenty of time, as Shaqiri pointed out. He also believes the Reds will be fine in Europe, and qualify for the Champions League competition next season.
“In the Champions League everything is fine, but they’re going to push and they’re going to try,” Shaqiri continued. “And I hope and I’m sure they’re going to play Champions League next season, which is very important for the club.”
To say that Liverpool has been down this season, or bad, is not totally true. It’s a simplistic statement. They have actually been bipolar. As Kavanaugh put it, in his LFC Team News preview article:
Liverpool’s form this season has been harder to read than a doctor’s handwriting. The Reds have been up and down like a yo-yo. Victories against Napoli and Manchester City have been overshadowed by defeats to Nottingham Forest and Leeds United. Liverpool is officially European football’s Jekyll and Hyde team at the moment.
Shaqiri left Liverpool about 14-15 months ago, and he was was asked, later on the call, to look back on his three years at the club. He was also asked why he went to pursue another challenge.
“Yeah, I had a very beautiful time, three years in Liverpool,” the Switzerland international said.
“We won many titles. But yeah, I just decided it was the right time for me to go to have a new challenge. I have still my house in Manchester. When I go, I try to watch some games when I have time. I have still contact with some people, and it’s going to stay always in my heart because we won the Champions League, we won the Premier League, we won many more titles, and I will always have this in my memories and I will always follow them.
“I had also a very good time with the fans. They supported me always, a lot, and are very special there. I will always have a very warm relationship with the club.
Paul M. Banks is the Owner/Manager of The Sports Bank and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”