Both the summer signing didn’t play in important games for Liverpool this year.
Manchester City moved back to the top of the Premier League table with another hard-fought 1-0 victory, this time over Bournemouth, to prove they have nerves of steel in the title race. Meanwhile, Liverpool drew yet another match, their inferior quality from the bench – and Jurgen Klopp’s hesitant tactical decisions – costing them the three points at Goodison Park. Many blamed Jurgen Klopp for not fielding an attacking XI and not starting Xherdan Shaqiri. Jurgen Klopp has often given lack of minutes to Shaqiri and Naby Kieta thus season. Klopp finally reveals why lack of playing minutes has been given to both.
Jurgen Klopp has assured Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri that the pair still have a place in his Liverpool squad and explained why they haven’t seen as much game time recently. The duo have missed out in recent weeks and were not brought off the bench in Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Everton , despite the Reds searching for a late winner at Goodison Park. Klopp has, however, moved to ease any concerns that they are no longer part of his plans, insisting that he selects his team based on what’s required for the next opponent in question.
Keita started the campaign well after joining from RB Leipzig last summer for a fee of £53 million ($67m). However, the midfielder has played just six minutes during Liverpool’s last three Premier League games. “Naby is actually in a good moment and has trained well,” said Klopp. “It’s only been the last three games he didn’t play too much. The team is in a good moment and we feel in a good moment so it’s difficult if things are working out well in midfield. If we play the system we usually play most of the time then there are only three positions [in midfield]. Somebody has to be out but it’s all good. They are all fit and we can use them all.”
“As for Shaqiri, he has not started any of Liverpool’s last five league outings. It’s similar with Shaq,” Klopp added. “He had a little injury and was out [for Bournemouth at home]. There was something with his back and he needed a little time. I remember the moment when he got the injury – he won a heading challenge near the sideline. His body wasn’t used to that! It affected him. With the line-up we had and system-wise, it wasn’t difficult but we have to change a little bit if Shaq is playing. For the last few games, we didn’t do that. He’s fully fit now.”
The duo have suffered due to the depth of squad available to the Reds boss. However Klopp needs to know if Liverpool want three points and attacking football, Kieta and Shaqiri must start.