479
Moving Target

Shaqiri could be a budget FPL route into Liverpool’s free-scoring midfield

Xherdan Shaqiri has made a swift return to the Premier League just two months after Stoke City’s relegation from the top flight.

The Swiss international has signed for Liverpool on a five-year deal after the Reds triggered his release clause of £13m.

Shaqiri is Liverpool’s third signing of the summer, following the captures of midfielders Naby Keita and Fabinho.

The move looks like a savvy one on Jurgen Klopp’s part, with the German manager addressing the lack of squad depth that restricted his ability to rotate the likes of Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino towards the end of last season.

Predominantly a right-winger but more than able of being deployed in “the hole” behind a striker, Shaqiri gives Klopp the opportunity to rest one of last season’s front trio without disrupting the balance of his side. Danny Ings and Dominic Solanke were the sum total of Klopp’s alternatives in attack last season as Liverpool rotated in the league ahead of the UEFA Champions League final in May, but the Reds looked disjointed without the dovetailing Salah, Firmino and Sadio Mane in the side.

Salah, of course, played much of last season on the right of the front three in Klopp’s widely used 4-3-3 and Shaqiri would be a capable deputy were the Egyptian star to require a long-overdue rest.

Klopp could even field Shaqiri alongside all three of last season’s top scorers with a slight formation tweak – Mane and Salah could play either side of Shaqiri in a 4-2-3-1, with Firmino as the focal point of the attack. Klopp indeed rolled out this formation in the 4-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on the final day of the 2017/18 Premier League season.

Priced at £7.5m in Fantasy Premier League this season, Shaqiri is £2.0m cheaper than both Mane and Firmino and £5.5m less expensive than Salah. While the former Bayern Munich and Inter winger would, perhaps, expect to be a bit-part player at first this season, Fantasy managers would only be an injury or two away from having a cut-price route into the Liverpool front line.

Shaqiri’s arrival at Anfield does, of course, mean that we can be far less confident about pitch time for our premium Liverpool midfield and forward assets, particularly around Champions League fixtures and the busy festive period.

Klopp said of his latest acquisition:

He has speed and ability, has the right amount of arrogance on the football pitch, real bravery to want the ball and influence things. To play for us these are mandatory requirements.

We are the perfect move for him in this moment as well I think, because he needs to push himself and challenge himself and our environment encourages that. We will want him to express himself but also learn and improve the areas of his game where he can still make progression.

 The History

Born in Gjilan in present-day Kosovo, Shaqiri and his family emigrated to Switzerland while he was still an infant and it was with FC Basel that Shaqiri got his break in senior football.

Having scored eight goals in 19 appearances for FC Basel II in the Swiss fourth tier, Shaqiri made the step up to the first team in 2009 at the age of 17.

A total of 18 goals and 19 assists in 92 appearances with the Swiss club – who won the domestic league in each of Shaqiri’s three seasons as a first-team regular – attracted the attention of Bayern Munich, who snapped up the-then 20-year-old talent for a reported €11.6m.

Shaqiri’s move to the Bavarian giants wasn’t quite a roaring success, with exactly half of his 52 appearances for the German side coming as a substitute. After falling out of favour with Pep Guardiola at Munich, Shaqiri departed for Inter in January 2015 for an equally ill-fated four-month spell in Italy. After just one goal in 15 appearances (seven of them as a substitute) for I Nerazzurri, Shaqiri was procured by Mark Hughes’ Stoke City for £12m.

The Swiss midfielder’s most productive season for the Potters was to be the club’s relegation campaign of 2017/18. Having previously scored on seven occasions and registered a combined eight assists for Stoke in his first two seasons with the club, Shaqiri played a part in 17 (eight goals, nine assists) of City’s 35 league goals as they slipped out of the top tier for the first time in a decade.

Having made his debut for the Swiss national team in March 2010, Shaqiri has made 74 appearances for his adopted country and scored on 21 occasions. Liverpool’s new “number 23” has represented the Swiss at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, as well as Euro 2016.

The Prospects

Still – somehow – only 26, Shaqiri has perhaps yet to peak. Having received top-level grounding with Bayern and Inter and Premier League experience with Stoke, Shaqiri shouldn’t need much time to bed in at Anfield next season.

Shaqiri has a combined five national titles and four domestic cups to his name from spells at Basel and Bayern and even has a Champions League winners’ medal, following the Bavarian club’s triumph in 2013 (Shaqiri played no part in the final against Borussia Dortmund, however). With 44 appearances in either the Champions League or Europa League to his name, Shaqiri has more European experience under his belt than the likes of Mane, Firmino and Keita.

Any in-depth statistical comparison with Salah would be an exercise in futility given that Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder has just enjoyed a remarkable season and consideration ought to be given to the fact that Shaqiri plied his trade for a struggling club in 2017/18 when assessing his underlying attacking statistics.

For starters, the Potters had 250 fewer shots than Liverpool and less than half (51) the number of big chances.

Shaqiri had only one shot fewer than Mane last season, though played over 800 more minutes that Liverpool’s Senegalese midfielder.

As a result, Shaqiri’s minutes-per-chance mean of 44.2 minutes was a modest one and inferior to not only that of Mane and Salah but also his Stoke team-mates Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Mame Biram Diouf and Charlie Adam.

It is intriguing to note how many of Shaqiri’s shots come from distance. Only 36.2% of Shaqiri’s shots were struck from inside the box last season, while no Premier League player scored more goals (five) from outside the opposition area than the Swiss international.

As a result of his shoot-on-sight policy, only five of Shaqiri’s chances were deemed “big” ones; Salah had over eight times more, by way of comparison.

Shaqiri indeed had two fewer penalty box touches than Joe Allen last season and almost half as many as Choupo-Moting.

The Alpine Messi‘s creativity statistics are where he particularly stands out, however.

Shaqiri created more opportunities, supplied more big chances and delivered more crosses than any Liverpool player last season and made a key pass on average every 41 minutes – a better rate than any of the Reds’ much-heralded front three.

Shaqiri was Stoke’s chief set-piece taker last season, firing in 88 corners and 12 free-kick attempts, and his impressive creativity statistics can be partly attributed to his prominent role at dead-ball situations.

It remains to be seen whether the Swiss midfielder is afforded as many opportunities from set-play situations with Liverpool, but the fact that two of the Reds’ three main corner-kick takers last season were Philippe Coutinho (now departed) and James Milner (who will surely be even more peripheral next season) bodes well for Shaqiri’s chances.

Despite the raft of statistics we have presented so far, perhaps the most salient one is this: Shaqiri’s average of 4.3 points per match last season was only beaten by Riyad Mahrez among midfielders who didn’t play for the “big six” (discounting the now-reclassified Wilfried Zaha and Marko Arnautovic).

That Shaqiri managed that feat in a relegated side who scored less than half as many goals as Liverpool and that he contributed to almost 50% of the Potters’ 35 strikes illustrates just how potent a Fantasy asset he could be in a side as free-flowing as the Reds – if afforded game time.

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479 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Crazy crazy horse
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Can anyone tell me why Kevin Mirallas isn't available to buy?

  2. Bilbao Baggins
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Best arsenal players article doesn't mention Mkhitaryan once.. I'm confused to why.

    1. Deulofail
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Oversight

    2. Lovren an elevator
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Where is this article?

  3. Jordan_k
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 28 days ago

    RMT please - Seems balanced but should Salah be included?

    Ederson - 4.0m

    VVD - Bailey - Coleman - Cedric - Tomkins

    Mane - Mahrez - Sigurdsson - Cairney - Kennedy

    Aubameyang - Aguero - C.Wood

    1. Wolves Ay We
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Should Salah be included? Do Bears do it in the Woods?

      1. Miguel Sanchez
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 28 days ago

        Is the Pope a Burnley keeper?

        1. Deulofail
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 28 days ago

          Does Pope poop in Chris' Wood?

  4. Hotdogs for Tea
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Right, settled on two of my front 3
    - very good stats
    - nailed
    - very important to their teams in a Talisman way
    - no major WC hanger over
    - acceptable fixtures

    Just surprised they are not in more RMT posts 😉

    1. Wolves Ay We
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      My goodness, I've got the same 3. 😀

      1. Zilla
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 28 days ago

        This can't be possible, same here!

    2. Deulofail
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Vardy and Deeney might not be as good this year

    3. Deulofail
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      I dream of acceptable fixtures

  5. Union_Jacks
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 28 days ago

    What makes everyone think Kenedy is a good option at £5.0m?

    Please convince me, does he take any set pieces?

    1. Hotdogs for Tea
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Not when an Ayew turns up there

    2. Deulofail
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      He was great last season, but I don't understand the love right now given the fixtures. Even if I rotated with Palace, I'd be putting a 5.0 mid in second or third sub position most weeks. He's not likely to skyrocket in price, so I'll buy him later.

    3. Gregor
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Nice price for a player with his potential, I’d wait for the fixtures to ease though.

  6. FlyingWithoutIngs
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Sane or Mahrez
    And
    Firmino and 5.5
    Or mane and 5.5 attacker

  7. Bambi
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Balance is over-rated

    Fabianski - 4.0
    Bailly - Coleman - Cedric - Tomkins - Peltier
    Salah - Sanchez - Jota - Hughes - Stephens
    Aguero - Aubamenyang - 6.0

      1. Bambi
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 28 days ago

        seen this already haha. very true. know your targets and their application. you wouldn't use parmesan in a ham sandwich.

        1. Deulofail
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 28 days ago

          I once bought 1.3kg of parmasan, because it was my only choice while in Thailand, and ate the whole thing raw and by itself over the course of 10 days. I am parmesan's audience

      2. Zilla
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 28 days ago

        Do you bookmark things like this? 😀

        1. Deulofail
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 28 days ago

          I tend to just guess at the URL and see if it hits

    1. Silecro
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Every mentioned player is starter so i would say this team is pretty balanced

      1. Deulofail
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 28 days ago

        More evidence that the definition of balance is fuzzy at best. Best to avoid thinking about it imo 🙂

    2. Hotdogs for Tea
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      you get points for all of the 11 that start each game week for you - pick a combination that you think will give you the most points each week, irrespective of everything else .... except the choice of captain 🙂

      1. Bambi
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 28 days ago

        yeah I see. Really dislike it when people see teams with 4 big hitters and say they won't provide 'value' because you will only captain Salah. They will still score well and if anything provides you with more options.

        1. Hotdogs for Tea
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 28 days ago

          If the big guns fire then you are well set, if they fire blanks you are relying on your side arms ... you just need to make sure all your guns are loaded 🙂

  8. Catastrophe
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 28 days ago

    A) Ramsey & Jagielka/4.5
    B) Jota & Coleman
    C) Jota & PVA

    (2nd player to be rotated with Kenedy)

    Cheers

    1. Lovren an elevator
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      B

  9. Christina.
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Only three Chelsea players bettered Jorginho’s 43 chances created in 2017/18.

    Guess who the casuals are buying...

    1. Mayor of Flair
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Bit of a Fabregas type is he?

    2. Auboomerang
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Just had a look at Jorginho's stats... my word.

      2 goals, 11 assists in his last 118 games for Napoli.

      1. Christina.
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 28 days ago

        so better than Cairney....

        1. G75
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          3 months, 28 days ago

          ATFPL have a Slack Group Forum App, if you email membersatfpl@gmail.com, they can add you as a member.

          1. Christina.
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            3 months, 28 days ago

            why would I want to do that?

            lol

        2. Ason Willa
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 28 days ago

          Nope, worse than Cairney, and that was before Cairney was 'reputedly' taking penalties.

          1. Christina.
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            3 months, 28 days ago

            I have both.

            Sorted.

      2. Ason Willa
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 28 days ago

        lol

    3. TH 14
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Kante got player of the season 2 years ago though, absolute bargain of the season at 5m.

      1. TH 14
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 28 days ago

        Scratch that Neves scored an absolute worldie, saw it on twitter last season.

        Straight in my team.

  10. Happy_Player
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Why no love for Otamendi, I know he’s very expensive, but he was a key part of City’s team last season and has good attacking threat

    1. Mayor of Flair
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Competition with Kompany fit and Laporte there now

    2. Gregor
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Too high a price to pay for a player who arguably over achieved and has three other good centre half’s to compete with.

    3. Deulofail
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      I was selling him at around 5.9 last year, so I don't see why he would be worth 6.5. It's not impossible, but he doesn't strike me as great value like other options do.

  11. Hotdogs for Tea
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Right, that’s it, team locked and loaded until a few days before GW1 .... just for fine tuning 🙂

  12. JJeyy
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 28 days ago

    PVA or Davies?

    1. Happy_Player
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 28 days ago

      pva

    2. Gregor
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      PVA plus the spare cash.

  13. pokern1nja09
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Who will be the biggest bandwagon flops this season?
    Going into the World Cup, lots of people were having Mendy and Sidebe in their RMTs. I think Arnie and Zaha will flop, or just not score as much as people think.

    1. Christina.
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Jota
      Tosun

      1. Kopkloppers
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 28 days ago

        MY CONCERNS TOO

        1. Reuser
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 28 days ago

          Would be interested to hear your thoughts/concerns about Tosun....

          1. Zilla
            • 1 Year
            3 months, 28 days ago

            It depends on what you expect from Tosun

          2. Kopkloppers
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            3 months, 28 days ago

            A marked improvement over the latter part of last year but never got the support from a poor side.
            I have yet to see a Marco Silva striker work well in English football.
            The price at 7 mil is good compared to most at that price.
            A limited gamble on a player in a team that massively under achieved last season.
            I would look at Siggy Wally or Lookman before him though

            1. Reuser
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 28 days ago

              Interesting - many thanks.

            2. The_Adam
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 28 days ago

              I have Tosun, but I'm giving him two weeks to impress me. If not, I'll be bringing in Wood or another similar value striker (probably) plus Auba, for Tosun & Firmino (I have 1m ITB)

    2. Happy_Player
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 28 days ago

      I think Aguero

    3. Deulofail
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Do you think Arnie and Zaha will be injured? Is that what you're saying?

      1. Fire Chief Moe
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 28 days ago

        I think they'll both play wide

        1. Deulofail
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 28 days ago

          Playing wiiiiide.... The reason that Mendy and Sidibe flopped. I get it now 😉

    4. Hotdogs for Tea
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Mahrez - going to be subbed off on 58 minutes
      Auba - going to fall out with every one
      Kane - it’s August
      🙂

      1. Deulofail
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 28 days ago

        If Mahrez gets subbed off on 58 minutes, why would he become a bangwagon?

        1. Deulofail
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 28 days ago

          😆 bandwagon*

          Winnebango
          Cross-country (without the 'o') - did you know the C word is seemingly filtered out even within words?

          etc

        2. Hotdogs for Tea
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 28 days ago

          he would become a flop then .... already a band wagon before flopping 🙂

          1. Deulofail
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 28 days ago

            And Kane is already a bandwagon too?

            I don't understand the rules!

            1. Hotdogs for Tea
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 28 days ago

              My understanding of a bandwagon is that something happens to shift opinion (Mahrez goes to City) (unknown cheap mid scores a brace), some one says ‘oh, this is good, makes him a great pick’, it gets repeated and everyone picks him .... without really thinking about it or researching and finding out that (the player that scored the brace has not scored a goal before-hand for 3 years) Mahrez is likely to play 60 minutes one week and 30 minutes the next week 🙂

              1. Deulofail
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 2 Years
                3 months, 28 days ago

                But but... Kane....

                1. Hotdogs for Tea
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 3 Years
                  3 months, 28 days ago

                  Kane is simply backed because he is a good choice and scores lots of goals

                  1. Deulofail
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 2 Years
                    3 months, 28 days ago

                    Bandwagon doe

                    Using your definition, I can't see it around here 🙂

                    1. Hotdogs for Tea
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 3 Years
                      3 months, 28 days ago

                      ‘an activity or cause that has suddenly become fashionable or popular’

      2. Happy_Player
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 28 days ago

        What do you mean with Auba

        1. Hotdogs for Tea
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 28 days ago

          Every one getting him = bandwagon
          He has a history of stropping and refusing to play = flop

    5. Brosstan
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      All Everton players

    6. Zilla
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Well it seems every single player will flop

  14. subhojit123
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 28 days ago

    1. Mee, tarkowski
    2. Mee, kiko

    Which one would you go for?

    1. Gregor
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      I wouldn’t go double Burnley.

    2. Happy_Player
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Neither

  15. Fplnoobies
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 28 days ago

    What do you guys think?

    Pickford/4.0
    Bailly/Keane/danies/tomkins/4.5
    Salah/sanchez/eriksen/sessegnon/douglas
    Aguero/tosun/4.5

    Im also confused sessegnon/douglas or jota/cairney.

    1. Happy_Player
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Personally, I think the attack is a bit weak, and I’d avoid Spurs players because they all were at wc. Also Sessegnon is too expensive imo. Other than that it’s good

    2. The_Adam
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Douglas is a defender.

      1. Fplnoobies
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 28 days ago

        My bad. I meant costa.

  16. ludaslol
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Thoughts on this one?
    DDG
    Coleman Robertson Bailly Otamendi
    Salah Mahrez Sigurdsson Deulofeu
    Aguero Zaha

    Speroni, Cairney, Jazz, Quaner

    1. Christina.
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      did u not get memo?

      Zaha is ROOP.

      1. ludaslol
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 28 days ago

        Thanks for the heads up, would really like Auba and Kun but kinda like the rest of my team..Not sure how to squeeze him in

  17. Anderson453
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Thoughts on this;

    Bettinelli
    Robertson Steve Cook Cedric
    Gross Sane Salah Ozil Deulofeu
    Aubameyan Tosun

    Ryan, Peltier, Jiminez, Tomkins

  18. Iwobi
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Zaha or Tosun?

    1. Darth_Krid
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Leaning towards Tosun with Zaha playing out wide in pre-season.

  19. JJeyy
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Best pairing?
    A) Azpi + DDG

    B) Mkhi + Ederson

    1. Darth_Krid
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 28 days ago

      B for me, especially GW3 onwards.

  20. Alex1987
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Crystal Palace have got a good few opening games, would anyone pick 3 players from their squad?