Reported French Liverpool target outshines Shaqiri - Time to sign him?

There was only one winner in the battle of the reported Liverpool targets during France v Switzerland.

It was another successful night for Mathieu Valbuena on Friday, as the Marseille midfielder scored and registered an assist during France's 5-2 World Cup win over Switzerland.

The French side, as a whole, produced a sensational performance to stamp their mark on the tournament so far, while the 29-year-old in particular enjoyed considerable success on the break during a convincing 82 minutes on-field.

And one thing Valbuena will take satisfaction from - if he is an avid follower of transfer news - is outshining Xherdan Shaqiri, the Bayern Munich midfielder linked to the same potential destination as the Frenchman.

Indeed, both men have been touted as Liverpool targets - but when they came head-to-head, there was only one winner.

  TeamGoalsAssistsSuccessful DribblesAccurate CrossesTouchesSuccessful Final-Third PassesMins
Mathieu Valbuena France 1 1 0 2 53 11 82
Xherdan Shaqiri Switzerland 0 0 0 1 56 9 90

As Opta stats show, that winner was Valbuena, with the France midfielder scoring, assisting and making more accurate crosses and successful final-third passes than Shaqiri.

A huge factor in Shaqiri's defence, of course, was the overall weakness of his Switzerland side, with Valbuena being aided by the likes of Blaise Matuidi, Yohan Cabaye, Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud - to name a few.

However, the 29-year-old actually had less touches of the ball than Shaqiri and played less minutes. If he was watching, Brendan Rodgers will likely have been impressed by what he saw.

It was France's third goal that Valbuena himself put away, latching on to a Giroud cross from a rapid counterattack and finishing clinically from close range. And it was that goal that may persuade Liverpool fans that he could be worth bringing to Anfield.

Just shy of 30, the Marseille man will not have as many years in him as someone like Shaqiri, while he has shown loyalty to his current club in the past.

On the flip-side, though, his age will almost certainly mean a much cheaper transfer fee - and his form at the World Cup suggests he can slot perfectly into a quick, counterattacking side such as the Reds.

Valbuena had already impressed against Honduras, making more successful final-third passes than anyone else in the tournament so far, but his performance against Switzerland has put him on the front ledge of the shop window.

At the very least, this Frenchman is worth serious consideration.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch