Xherdan Shaqiri, Liverpool Agree to Contract After Stoke City Transfer

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 13, 2018

SWANSEA, WALES - MAY 13: Xherdan Shaqiri of Stoke City during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Stoke City at Liberty Stadium on May 13, 2018 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Xherdan Shaqiri has left Stoke City for Liverpool after signing a "long-term contract" with the Reds on Friday.

The news was announced in a report from Sam Williams of the club's official website, with Shaqiri saying: "I'm very happy to be here. It's a huge club with big history, big players and a fantastic coach. So I'm really glad and happy to be here."

James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo provided more details of the fee paid and terms signed:

James Pearce @JamesPearceEcho

#LFC confirm the £13million signing of Xherdan Shaqiri. He has penned a five-year contract.

Naturally, manager Jurgen Klopp has endorsed the deal:

Liverpool FC News @LivEchoLFC

“I think the English phrase to explain the decision to sign Xherdan is a ‘no-brainer’" Jurgen Klopp on Liverpool's deal to sign Xherdan Shaqiri. https://t.co/kX9UoMX3eY

Klopp's confidence is somewhat curious on two fronts. First, Shaqiri, who was relegated with the Potters last season, is joining an already front-loaded squad well-stocked with match-winners in attacking areas.

Specifically, the flanks are in good hands thanks to prolific duo Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah. While he's a gifted, mercurial winger, Switzerland international Shaqiri is likely to struggle for starts ahead of either man.

However, some, including Sam McGuire of Football Whispers, believe Shaqiri will be an asset regardless of the competition in front of him:

"He's got a point to prove and this is perhaps his last chance to make it with a big club. The bodybuilding ballerina steps up when he's surrounded by quality, he did so when in Bavaria, and there's no reason he can't be as productive when lining up alongside Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino."

Shaqiri is likely to struggle for starts behind Liverpool's star-studded front three.
Shaqiri is likely to struggle for starts behind Liverpool's star-studded front three.FRANCISCO LEONG/Getty Images

McGuire outlined several ways Shaqiri could fit into the Liverpool lineup, although he missed perhaps the most interesting shift. Having Shaqiri may give Klopp more license to play star man Salah, who scored 32 league goals last season, through the middle.

Although the 26-year-old gives Klopp yet another versatile forward, many would rightly contend Liverpool's transfer priorities should lie elsewhere.

In particular, a new goalkeeper seems like a priority after Loris Karius made two high-profile blunders during the club's 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final back in May.

There are still issues at the back, despite Liverpool adding to an already brilliant attack.
There are still issues at the back, despite Liverpool adding to an already brilliant attack.Lynne Cameron/Getty Images

A centre-back to replace Joel Matip and Dejan Lovre alongside Virgil van Dijk would also make sense for a defence breached 38 times in as many matches in the Premier League last season.

Issues at the back could once again undermine arguably the most dynamic and entertaining going forward in England's top flight. For the moment, though, Klopp appears content to continue building for success on a foundation of goals and creativity.