Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he substituted Xherdan Shaqiri early during the Reds’ 3-0 win against Southampton because he wanted more control of the game.
Switzerland international Shaqiri was influential in his first Premier League start for the Anfield side, smacking the bar with a free kick that led to Mohamed Salah’s tap in, but was withdrawn as Klopp looked to shut up shop.
As quoted by the Mirror, Klopp hailed Shaqiri’s influence and revealed he withdrew the former Stoke ace to maintain a firm grip on the game.
He said: “I said to Shaq that I have never taken a player off at half-time after such an influential half but we wanted more control. He wasn’t injured.
“Shaq is a fantastic boy. The free kick was outstanding. He tried everything and he is a good player to have. Great offensively, needs a little work defensively.”
Southampton manager Mark Hughes, who managed Shaqiri during their time together at the bet365 Stadium, also praised the diminutive forward after the game.
“I had the benefit of Shaqiri’s free kicks for a long time,” he said. “I’m pleased for him, he’s got a fantastic move.
“He’s always felt he was a top six player. He’s a good guy and he’ll add to the character of the group as well I’m sure.”