Xherdan Shaqiri was conspicuous by his absence from Liverpool’s training session on Monday with the Newcastle United-linked winger expected to leave Anfield this summer, according to the Liverpool Echo.
In almost any other era, a former Bayern Munich and Inter Milan ace with 82 international caps under his belt would surely have been a key player on the red half of Merseyside.
But Shaqiri’s £12 million move to Liverpool in the summer of 2018 just happened to coincide with their transformation from nearly men into the most impressive football team on planet earth. And it’s fair to say the Swiss star’s role in that Red revolution has been minimal at best.
With Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi all ahead of him in the pecking order, Shaqiri has made just six appearances as Liverpool close in on the Premier League title.
And though some might question his desire to walk away from a club who are on the verge of securing their place at the top of English football for the first time in 30 years, Shaqiri has no choice but to pack his bags if he wants to start playing regularly once again.
Newcastle could offer him such an opportunity. The Mail suggests that the Magpies will offer the former Champions League winner a fresh start at St James’ Park, if or when that long-awaited takeover finally goes through.
An explosive yet somewhat erratic talent with the ability to conjure up the odd moment of match-changing magic, Shaqiri is exactly the kind of maverick winger Newcastle fans tend to take to their hearts.
And, interestingly, he was one of the few senior stars who was nowhere to be seen as Liverpool took part in full-contact training on Monday.
All signs point to a parting of the ways.