Xherdan Shaqiri had the perfect view of the celebrations in his homeland late on Wednesday night.

Liverpool’s training base in the hills above Evian looks out across Lake Geneva. In the distance firework displays lit up the sky to mark Swiss National Day.

“Happy birthday my lovely Switzerland,” he posted on social media with a photo of him draped in his nation’s flag.

Shaqiri has been providing pyrotechnics of his own since kicking off his Liverpool career during the pre-season tour of America.

His debut against Manchester United in Michigan was one to savour – creating a goal for Daniel Sturridge before scoring himself with a breathtaking bicycle kick.

And Shaqiri has once again caught the eye during this week’s training camp in Evian. He’s strong, he’s creative and his finishing is deadly.

“He’s another top quality player and it’s nice to have another strong addition to the squad,” admitted team-mate Joe Gomez.

When Liverpool signed Shaqiri from Stoke City for £13million last month he was viewed as a decent back-up option for prolific widemen Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

But Shaqiri showcased his versatility in Michigan as he flourished in an advanced central role. He’s a serious option for Jurgen Klopp in that position as thoughts turn to the Premier League opener against West Ham a week on Sunday.

There aren’t too many spots up for grabs. Alisson Becker is a shoo-in, while Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk are likely to make up three of the back four.

With Joel Matip still to prove his fitness, Gomez is set to compete with Ragnar Klavan for the right to partner Van Dijk at centre-back.

Despite Roberto Firmino’s late return following the World Cup, it would be a major surprise if he didn’t start alongside Salah and Mane.

That leaves the midfield where trying to pick the right combination to face the Hammers is tricky.

Jordan Henderson is unlikely to start give he only reports back to Melwood this Sunday, but you wouldn’t put it past the Reds skipper to come back in such good shape that he gives Klopp food for thought.

Fabinho is clearly still adjusting to Liverpool’s style and the manager recently spoke how he’s tried too hard to impress at times in pre-season.

But there have been promising signs and if the Brazilian starts in the holding role then one of the spots further forward will surely be taken by Naby Keita, who has returned to full training following a neck injury.

That would leave the likes of James Milner, Gini Wijnaldum, Adam Lallana and Shaqiri competing for the final place.

A Fabinho, Keita, Shaqiri midfield would be a bold move but it could work with the Switzerland international able to provide the ammunition for the front three to fire.

What’s clear is that Shaqiri is enjoying a new lease of life at Liverpool after enduring relegation with Stoke City.

He’s been the target of some unfair criticism from former Reds midfielder Charlie Adam, who collected more red cards than goals for the Potters in the Premier League last season.

“You can see this team has amazing players, I feel good and I’m very happy,” he said. “I have played at a lot of big clubs and I want to help this team to go forward.”

Shaqiri has shown he means business. Saturday’s friendly against Napoli in Dublin and the visit of Torino to Anfield on Tuesday gives him the chance to make a compelling case for Klopp to find room for him when the serious action starts.

ARISNews
Xherdan Shaqiri had the perfect view of the celebrations in his homeland late on Wednesday night. Liverpool's training base in the hills above Evian looks out across Lake Geneva. In the distance firework displays lit up the sky to mark Swiss National Day. “Happy birthday my lovely Switzerland,” he posted on...