Xherdan Shaqiri was slated for a lacklustre performance in Switzerland’s 5-2 loss to France last Friday, but rebounded with aplomb in Tuesday’s emphatic 3-0 win over Honduras.
The 22-year-old bagged a brilliant hat-trick to propel Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side through to the round of 16 and silence his critics in stunning fashion.
It was the type of display that once again begged the question of whether Shaqiri will leave Bayern Munich this summer in an effort to regularly put his talents on display at the club level.
Stuck behind the likes of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery in the pecking order at the Allianz Arena, the ex-Basel man was limited to just 10 Bundesliga starts last term.
Shaqiri has regularly been linked with the likes of Juventus and Liverpool over the past six months, whilst last week the Metro picked up on German reports that the Reds had entered negotiations with Bayern over a £16 million deal.
And in the hours following the Swiss winger’s demolition of Honduras, further developments emerged suggesting that Shaqiri is nearing an Anfield switch.
A report from Sky Sport Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio reads: “The Swiss footballer, who scored three goals today in the World Cup, is liked by Milan and Roma, but Liverpool has the advantage over the other teams.
“Shaqiri’s brother, who is also his agent, is currently in England to meet with Liverpool’s management and discuss the economic details of the contract.
“His departure from Bayern Munich is close, Shaqiri appears to be heading to the Premier League.”
Di Marzio places negotiations at an advanced stage, as contract talks between Shaqiri’s agent and Liverpool suggest an agreement on the transfer fee with Bayern is near at the very least.
Based on the report, the Reds seem keen to wrap up a deal before the end of the World Cup to pre-empt the competition - and prevent Shaqiri’s price-tag from going up.
Liverpool closely felt the effects of protracted negotiations in losing out on both Willian and Mohamed Salah to Chelsea, and may be looking to thwart a similar scenario by moving quickly to secure Shaqiri’s services.