It’s always fun when you have more than one “superstar” player in your team as the quality seems to ooze from every corner of the pitch but also it could come at a cost.
When Liverpool played against Burnley at the weekend, we witnessed the little “row” that emanated between Salah and Mane and now it would seem another Liverpool player is involved in an ego outburst once again.
Could this be a problem for Klopp later on in the season? We’ll have to see about that.
In a rather very unlikely turn of events, Granit Xhaka has offered Xherdan Shaqiri the Switzerland captaincy in a bid to end their rumoured feud and see the Liverpool playmaker return to the national squad.
Shaq has decided to stay at Melwood and train under Jurgen Klopp, rather than go away with his country, which seems a very surprising decision considering he hasn’t played a reasonable amount of football yet this season.
And now Shaqiri has asked not to be considered for international selection this month so he can concentrate on his Reds career, having made just one Premier League appearance this campaign
He saw his pre-season disrupted after picking up an injury while playing for Switzerland in the UEFA Nations League finals during the summer.
However, it has been suggested in some quarters that the 27-year-old withdrew his services in protest at being overlooked as captain by head coach Vladimir Petkovic with Xhaka handed the armband in absence of regular skipper Stephan Lichtsteiner.
Shaqiri has been a mainstay of the Switzerland national team since making his full debut in 2010, earning 82 caps and scoring 22 goals, with Xhaka playing down talk of a rift with before their EURO 2020 qualifier against the Republic of Ireland.
“If the Captain’s band really is the problem, then we can sit together at one table,” Xhaka told reporters, as quoted by Arsenal fansite Daily Cannon. “We are grown up enough to talk about it.
“If he really has a problem about that [the captaincy], then he may like the Captain’s armband. That’s no problem for me. It does not matter to me if I have it. I want to give everything to the team, whether tat’s with the band or without.”
Xhaka’s comments feel a little passive-aggressive in all honesty – hinting that Shaqiri isn’t committed and has selfish motives.
But the truth of the matter is that the Liverpool man is actually being selfish and is not taking the right decision for club and country.
If as reports say, that Shaqiri initially asked to be omitted from the Swiss team so he can focus on his Reds career (get more minutes), then this move makes no bit of sense.
Shaqiri is talented no doubt about it but playing in a team where Salah plays in your preferred position will definitely mean you’re confined to the bench except the Egyptian gets an injury – which he hardly ever does.
Shaqiri should ideally be jumping at international football where he’s considered the “Salah” of his team and should be playing as many minutes as possible so Klopp gets reminded of his talent. A goal or two for his Swiss side suddenly puts in him with a chance for selection or would at least see him amass more than the 14 mins out of a possible 450 mins he has totalled so far.
Then considering the player who offered to give him the armband, Granit Xhaka, is right up there with one of the most egoistic players around, just how much of bad friction could this bring to the Switzerland side.
Granit Xhaka is facing problems of his own as his “captaincy” at his club Arsenal is under serious scrutiny and criticism following a string of woeful performances. To then offer Shaqiri the armband is definitely not something he’ll genuinely want to do but the motif is clear and intact – all for peace to reign.
This is the same Granit Xhaka who made a “ridiculous” tackle against Son in the North London derby and still went on to hit out at the attackers coyly for not taking chances that could have seen his side win the game. So much for captain mentality.
Except Shaqiri is already considering retirement, he will at a point return to the squad and be ready to play again. Whether he gets the armband or not, the players will remember him as the self-centred person that wanted glory all for himself.
Or of what good use is a captain if his fellow players are not in sync with him?
At 27, Shaqiri is running out of time and should be taking any chance he gets at this stage(at club or country) seriously or faces the risk of seeing himself slowly forgotten and ultimately a sour end to his topsy-turvy career.