Argentina scrape through but key Liverpool target causes them problems

Xherdan Shaqiri

Liverpool-linked Switzerland midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri produced a resolute display despite bowing out of the World Cup against Argentina.

The 22-year-old posed the Argentine's a threat every time he got forward, proving especially lively in the first half.

Shaqiri ultimately couldn't create a goal for the Swiss but often looked leagues apart from his colleagues, only eventually being shown up by the one and only Lionel Messi.

One moment onlookers may have remembered was his free kick in the last minute of the game that hit straight into the wall, though that should not distract from what was another impressive World Cup display.

Shaqiri has been continually linked with a move away from Bayern Munich this summer, with the Reds reportedly one of the clubs seriously interested in his signature.

  TeamPosDribbles WonTotal Final-Third PassesSuccessful Final-Third PassesPass Accuracy (%)Was FouledMins
Ángel Di María Argentina MF 9 41 21 63.16 5 120
Lionel Messi Argentina FW 7 38 27 74.00 5 120
Gökhan Inler Switzerland MF 4 15 8 74.51 1 120
Admir Mehmedi Switzerland FW 4 16 12 79.49 1 113
Ricardo Rodriguez Switzerland DF 4 3 1 74.29 2 120
Xherdan Shaqiri Switzerland MF 3 21 19 85.42 5 120

As Opta stats show, Shaqiri was by no means the best player on the pitch, winning six less dribbles than Angel Di Maria - who was widely panned for an under-par performance despite netting the winning goal.

With three won dribbles to his name, though, Shaqiri evidently worried the Argentine backline when he went forward. What was most impressive was his passing accuracy, easily the highest out of any attacking player on the pitch.

Shaqiri also made all of his passes in the opposition half before half-time, while he was fouled five times - as many as that of Messi and Di Maria.

Had the 22-year-old not been brought down so often, he might have contributed more in the final third, especially as one of those fouls came in the last real action of the game, when Shaqiri could have found the space to shoot or play someone else in.

Still, it was Messi who stole the show in extra-time, showing the Swiss midfielder that he still has a way to go in terms of changing games at the top level.

Meanwhile, what Liverpool learnt about another potential new recruit is that he won't give up without a fight, something that fits the Anfield mould in terms of spirit and work-rate.

He is not the finished product quite yet, though. Maybe under the tutelage of Brendan Rodgers he can be.

Shaqiri's final World Cup stats:

  TeamPosGoalsShooting Accuracy (%)Dribble Success Rate (%)Crossing Accuracy (%)Passing AccuracyAppsMins
Xherdan Shaqiri Switzerland MF 3 40.00 40.00 25.00 86.88 4 387

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