The international break can be looked at two ways by a footballer; it’s either a blessing or a curse. In the case of Xherdan Shaqiri, this one could be a blessing.
The Liverpool forward turned down the opportunity to play for Switzerland over this break, instead preferring to stay behind at Anfield.
That’s caused something of a stir in his homeland, as is usually the case when a player decides he doesn’t want to turn out for his country.
Swiss newspaper Basler Zeitung have taken a different approach, though. They cover Shaqiri’s decision to stay away and believe it could be beneficial to his Liverpool career moving forward.
They argue that, unlike Shaqiri, the rest of the club’s forward line will be away on international duty over the next two weeks.
Divock Origi is with Belgium, while Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané are with Brazil and Senegal respectively. In the case of the latter two, they won’t return to training before Thursday given they play on Wednesday evening.
That puts them at risk of missing the game against Newcastle, which is scheduled for 13:30 on the following Saturday. Thus, Basler Zeitung argue Shaqiri has a chance of starting the game.
He can spend the international break putting himself right in Jürgen Klopp’s eye-line, with the newspaper arguing it’s a chance to ‘prove himself’ to the German.
And that logic is hard to argue with. Shaqiri has already complained about his situation at Liverpool in recent months, so it does make sense for him to do everything possible to try and improve it.
This is a time when he can afford to put club before country, and if his situation at Anfield does improve because of this, Switzerland will only benefit anyway.
That obviously doesn’t help them at this point, but sometimes a player has to prioritise, and in this instance, Shaqiri may have just made the right decision. Of course, only time will tell on that one.