Liverpool needs to protect Shaqiri – Klopp

Xherdan Shaqiri has made an impressive impact at Liverpool, but Jurgen Klopp wants to protect the winger from burnout.

Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates his goal against Cardiff City.   -  Getty Images

Liverpool is still getting to know Xherdan Shaqiri, according to Jurgen Klopp, who admitted it was difficult to leave the Switzerland winger out of his staring XI against Cardiff City.

Despite setting up Mohamed Salah's winner against Huddersfield Town before impressing against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League, Shaqiri had to settle for a place on the bench for Saturday's Premier League clash at Anfield, with Adam Lallana preferred.

But the former Stoke City man made the ideal impact when he was introduced, netting Liverpool's third goal in a 4-1 win just moments after Callum Paterson had pulled one back.

And Klopp has emphasised that Shaqiri was rested, rather than dropped, with Liverpool unsure of how the 27-year-old would react to a congested fixture list.

"Shaq came in and was involved in two nice goals, which is always good," Klopp told a news conference.

READ | Liverpool 4 Cardiff City 1: Mane at the double to blow Cardiff away

"That made it so hard to leave him out because he was a good player for that game, but we had to think about if it was the right thing to do. He played four games nearly 90 minutes in a row. Both international games for Switzerland, then Huddersfield and Belgrade for us."

"It was clear, we don't know Shaq long enough to know how he reacts. Sometimes you have to protect players until you know them a bit better. I thought the line-up we chose was good, it was good for Adam to start, he was really involved especially in the first half, less in the second which is completely normal."

"We decided differently, but football games are 97-98 minutes and you need 14 players for that. We only used 13 but bringing on that quality is a massive difference."

Sadio Mane scored a double either side of Shaqiri's 84th-minute goal, and the Senegal forward believes that ex-Bayern Munich man has been a fantastic addition to Liverpool's squad.

"Everybody is happy to have Shaqiri here. He is a top man and as a player he is fantastic," Mane told Liverpool's official website.

"He is a great player; he has come and looked like he has been here for years. He's going to help us score more and give assists."

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