Liverpool’s Xherdan Shaqiriinsists he is “feeling really good” after a calf injury picked up on international duty forced a very late return to the club’s pre-season training.
The Switzerland winger limped off 65 minutes into his country’s penalty-shootout defeat to England in the UEFA Nations League third-place playoff, with Jurgen Klopprevealing he would be out for “a while.”
That transpired to be around a month-and-a-half, with Shaqiri spending the first weeks of pre-season back at Melwood, rehabbing alongside Naby Keita.
Both reported back for their first session ahead of Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to Napoli but did not travel to Edinburgh, and are now in contention for the final friendly of the summer against Lyon on Wednesday night.
Given the dearth of senior attacking options so far in pre-season, the return of Shaqiri, along with Mohamed Salahand Roberto Firmino, gives Klopp plenty to assess in Geneva.
And Shaqiri believes he is ready to contribute, telling the club’s official websitehe is “really delighted to be back” and want to help Liverpool “achieve a lot of good things” this season.
“I am really happy that finally I am feeling really good and [I am ready] to help my team,” he added. [Getting injured], this is life and this is football.
“I am really happy I didn’t miss the start of the season—it’s going to start soon and I am happy to be back before it.”
On the prospect of taking to the field against Lyon, Shaqiri said “maybe we can grab some minutes,” with Klopp suggesting he, Keita, Salah and Firmino could play 30 minutes, while Alissonis likely to be afforded more.
“We have to see how our legs are, but until now I can say I feel good,” the 27-year-old continued.
This last line is crucial, as though he has been back in training and included in ball work with the rest of the squad, this test in Switzerland will be a significant one as Shaqiri aims for match fitness.
He is unlikely to start against Man Cityin the Community Shield on Sunday, and this injury has deprived the No. 23 of an opportunity with Salah, Firmino and Sadio Maneback late.
But this interview should still be considered a positive, as Shaqiri’s future was subject of speculation early in the summer.
Still committed to the cause, he can set his sights on another influential role after scoring six and assisting five in 30 games last season.