Xherdan Shaqiri met the media today ahead of the Chicago Fire FC’s season opener on Saturday against New York City FC. It’s pretty common for Shaqiri to be asked about Liverpool related topics during these media opps, as he won trophies at the Merseyside club during an earlier portion of his career.
When you were once part of a formidable midfield for one of the world’s biggest clubs people are going to want to hear your take on them.
Last season, Liverpool finished runners-up for the Premier League title, reached the Champions League final and won both the FA Cup and EFL Cup.
This year they’re long eliminated from both domestic cups, are on the verge of elimination from the UCL and currently sit sixth in the table.
Shaqiri, currently in his second season with the Fire as their designated player, was asked his feelings about what went wrong and why at Anfield.
You can’t always be at the top for many years, and of course, Liverpool, they are on the top all the time,” Shaqiri answered, prefacing his response with the fact that his insight is limited, given his current distance from from his former club.
“This is a normal process in football that can happen, and especially this season, you can see that Liverpool is maybe not in their best form.
“They are struggling a bit with performances. I’m a bit far now from what’s going on there so it’s a bit difficult.”
The pressure is certainly on the leadership at Liverpool right now, as the backlash against the ownership, Fenway Sports Group, continues to swell. It is not the fault of Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp that FSG is so utterly despised by much of the fan base, but it may be Klopp who is ultimately held accountable for that.
Last weekend, ahead of a goalless draw against Crystal Palace, Klopp said that something at the club needs to change and Shaqiri was asked, by The Sports Bank what changes might need to be made? Shaqiri referenced another giant club with an illustrious history during his response.
“I see just maybe they are playing the same football many years, and the other teams are getting better, too,” Shaq responded.
“So they analyze the team and probably they need, maybe, to change their formation sometimes, because I think Liverpool didn’t play many, many formations, and they played a long time with the same formation.
“Yeah, maybe they (opposing teams) know now how to play against Liverpool, and this was the same with Barcelona with the tiki–taka,
every football at one time, you know, they (learned) how to play against it.”
Indeed Barca and the tiki-taka is the stuff that legends that are made of, but again, once your secret is out, things are never the same again.
“So maybe they have to change a bit. But I am too far, like I said before, to say my opinion because I am now gone from there and I
don’t know what really happens there at the moment.
“But I’m pretty sure Jürgen [Klopp] is going to turn this around, and they know what they are doing and I’m pretty sure as soon as possible they are going to be back at the top.
This season has seen the phrases #FSGOut and #FSGOutNow often among the top trending terms on Twitter, and it is easy to understand why. However, it is most likely not the board, or the top LFC executives who feel job insecurity due to what has happened.
It is most likely Klopp himself who is on the hot seat; as unfair as that may be.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.
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