Liverpool star Xherdan Shaqiri was surprisingly left out of the Carabao Cup game against Arsenal.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp appeared to confirm Xherdan Shaqiri’s absence from the squad that faced Arsenal on Thursday night was due to the winger closing in on an exit from Anfield. Shaqiri has proven to be a versatile option for Liverpool since joining from Stoke for £13.5million in 2018.
He played a key role in Liverpool’s Champions League triumph back in 2019 as well as scoring some memorable league goals against Everton and Manchester United.
But the Switzerland international struggled with injuries last season as he was limited to just a handful of appearances.
There was strong speculation at the start of the summer transfer window that he would be leaving the club.
And not being involved in any of the three opening Premier League matches appeared to suggest he wasn’t part of Klopp’s plans for the season.
However, he made a starring performance in the Carabao Cup third-round win over Lincoln last week.
The 28-year-old scored an exquisite free-kick and performed well in an advanced role in midfield.
He was expected to be involved again in the Carabao Cup fourth-round tie against Arsenal.
But Klopp left him out of the squad altogether, giving Harry Wilson the opportunity to make a rare appearance.
Reports have suggested that Shaqiri was left out due to interest from at least two clubs with Liverpool not willing to risk the winger picking up an injury.
And Klopp all-but confirmed those reports, suggesting a deal could be close for Shaqiri leaving Liverpool.
“Some are not involved tonight,” Klopp said with a wry smile.
“It’s the time of the year where some things happen in the background and we have to react sometimes and that’s what we did.”
Liverpool exited the Carabao Cup on penalties after Joe Willock squeezed his effort under the body of Adrian.
The Reds missed a number of opportunities in the 90 minutes to find a breakthrough with Bernd Leno pulling off a number of top-class saves.
But Klopp wasn’t too disheartened at seeing his side exit the competition.
“I think if there was a winner in the 90 minutes, it should’ve been us,” he said.
“But we’re not in dreamland – you have to score and that’s what we didn’t do. But I liked different parts of the game.
“I saw a proper performance and a lot of things that we want to have on the pitch. I was fine with the game and we’d have loved to have won it in the game as everyone knows it’s tricky in the penalty shootout.”