Sunday 24 March 2019

Shaqiri to join up with Pool

New addition: Xherdan Shaqiri scores for Switzerland despite the efforts of Serbia’s Vladimir Stojkovic during the 2018 World Cup match in Russia
New addition: Xherdan Shaqiri scores for Switzerland despite the efforts of Serbia’s Vladimir Stojkovic during the 2018 World Cup match in Russia
Staying put: Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge in action against Borussia Dortmund’s Mario Gotze last Sunday. Photo: Reuters

Xherdan Shaqiri is set to meet up with his new Liverpool team-mates in New Jersey as he joins the tour of the United States.

The Switzerland international has been on extended leave because of his involvement in the World Cup - interrupting that only to complete a £13 million move from Stoke - but that is now over and the 26-year-old has some catching up to do.

Liverpool's squad will train in Charlotte, North Carolina, before flying to New Jersey ahead of their International Champions Cup match against Manchester City.

Shaqiri is already in New York so will meet them there but tomorrow's match, their second of three in America, will come too soon for him to be involved.

But while he gets up to speed, manager Jurgen Klopp has to get to grips with trimming down his squad.

Having added Shaqiri, midfielders Naby Keita and Fabinho and goalkeeper Alisson, the German now needs to make big decisions on who to keep, who to loan an d who to let go.

Daniel Sturridge is set to stay at Anfiled, ith Klopp prepared to run the risk of losing the striker on a free transfer next summer.

The England frontman had looked destined to leave Anfield after an injury-plagued loan spell at relegated West Brom.

However, Liverpool are now ready to rebuff any interest from rival clubs and retain his services for the final year of his £120,000 per week contract.

Sturridge has worked tirelessly to regain fitness and has impressed Klopp with his attitude and application in pre-season.

"Who doubts Daniel Sturridge when he is fit? I don't," Klopp said.

"He is an outstanding player when he is fit. The future is bright.

"He is still young enough. It is not as if he is 30-something. He is experienced.

"He has natural arrogance that you need on the pitch, so when something doesn't work he doesn't disappear out of the game for 10 minutes."

Striker Danny Ings, who was left behind on Merseyside to do extra work on his fitness after an ankle problem, seems one of those players likely to be on his way after three frustrating, injury-plagued seasons at Anfield.

Promising youngsters Harry Wilson and Ovie Ejaria have gone on loan to Derby and Rangers respectively while third-choice goalkeeper Danny Ward has been sold to Leicester.

"When all the players are back the squad is big, so it is clear they all need opportunities to play," Klopp told liverpoolfc.tv.

"The ones who are very young, we don't think about it; they are in absolutely the right place now and if they can play with us or the under-23s, it is perfect.

"Both is really good and we don't have to rush that, but then we have other age groups where you think it makes no sense to show in a different league, maybe a different club in a different league, how far they are in the moment.

"Then of course, it is clear there are always requests from other clubs and we need to stay open for that.

"In the end, it makes no sense to have 35 players in the squad because developing players means they have to feel needed; they need to see 'in this or this situation, I can play in the team' and all that stuff.

"I am pretty sure a few things will happen, but exactly what only time will show."

Academy goalkeeper Shamal George, who has been at the club since 2009, has signed a new contract ahead of a loan deal at Tranmere until January.

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