Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho was keen on signing current Liverpool star Xherdan Shaqiri, it has been revealed.
Midfielder Shaqiri came off the bench to fire Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League and ramp up the pressure on Manchester United boss Mourinho with a 3-1 victory.
The Switzerland international’s two-goal 20-minute cameo spared the blushes of goalkeeper Alisson Becker, whose 33rd-minute howler had gifted Jesse Lingard an equaliser the visitors barely deserved.
It was indicative of the mentality of the two managers that Mourinho sent on defensive midfielder Marouane Fellaini at half-time with the score at 1-1 while Reds boss Jurgen Klopp turned to Shaqiri when that scoreline had not changed midway through the second half.
That proved to be the masterstroke as he scored twice, both via deflections, to add to Sadio Mane’s 24th-minute opener as Liverpool beat United for the first time in nine league meetings.
Shaqiri moved to Anfield from Stoke City in the summer in a bargain £12m deal, made possible due to a release clause in his deal with the Potters.
However, Mourinho had reportedly talked up the player to his close companions prior to his move, and the Manchester Evening News claim that the Portuguese saw Shaqiri as the ideal man to fill the gap left by Wilfried Zaha’s exit.
Zaha signed for United back in 2013 but the move ultimately did not work out, with the Ivorian leaving two years later.
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp waxed lyrical about Shaqiri after his match-winning effort on Sunday.
“Jurgen Klopp knew exactly what he was getting when he picked up Xherdan Shaqiri for a bargain £13million: a match-winner who can supply moments of pure genius,” Redknapp wrote for the Daily Mail.
“Klopp is the kind of manager who focuses on what his stars can do rather than what they cannot.
“The German is the perfect boss for this maverick player.”