Peter Crouch thinks the reason why Xherdan Shaqiri cannot get any game time at Liverpool is down to Jurgen Klopp’s lack of confidence in the player.
Shaqiri has become a forlorn figure at Crouch’s old side Liverpool this season, with Klopp only handing him 25 minutes of football across four brief appearances.
It’s prompted talk that the former Bayern Munich and Inter Milan midfielder could be on his way out of Anfield in January.
Shaqiri, of course, has the bad luck in having to compete with Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah for a spot in the line-up. With the trio suffering no major injuries, though, it’s unlikely he’ll get a break anytime soon.
And Crouch, who played alongside the Switzerland international at Stoke City, feels his old team-mate’s lack of discipline has been his undoing at Liverpool.
“Well, I wasn’t surprised Liverpool took him because he’s one of the most naturally gifted footballers I’ve played with,” the former striker told the Irish Independent.
“He can make a difference. My issue when he played at Stoke was that while, obviously, he could look brilliant, there were times when there was a lot of tactical ill-discipline.
“If you’ve got a specific role to play that involves tracking back, just going and doing your own thing doesn’t really work. And I certainly don’t think that would work with Klopp.
“You look at (Roberto) Firmino, as technically gifted as he is, as free-spirited as he is, he still fits into the system, still works hard, still tracks back to win the ball back in midfield.
“If he’s asked to drop deeper, he does it. If he’s asked to play high, he does it. (Sadio) Mané and (Mo) Salah the same. As technically gifted as they are, they’re doing their bit for the team. It’s quite obvious that Klopp needs that.
“If he can’t trust someone 100 per cent, it looks to me like he won’t play you. That isn’t to say Shaqiri’s not a gifted player, because he is. He’s one of the best I’ve played with.”