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HOOKED

Liverpool’s man of the match was hooked after 45 minutes while Riyad Mahrez scored twice off the bench

The stats make for contrasting reading.

Riyad Mahrez finished Man City’s 5-0 win against Cardiff with two goals to his name.

Xherdan Shaqiri was hooked at half-time of Liverpool’s 3-0 win against Southampton having failed to register a goal or assist.

Reuters

‘Jurgen told me you need to leave the pitch immediately’

The concrete-calved Swiss playmaker had the second-worst pass completion rate of all Liverpool’s outfield players, aside from Mohamed ‘touch and shoot’ Salah.

Shaqiri completed just one dribble, didn’t win a single header and, alongside Naby Keita who was on the pitch for 20 minutes, was the only Liverpool player not to make a tackle.

Of course, anyone who watched Shaqiri in his first Liverpool Premier League start will know how misleading those stats are.

The calves that cause earthquakes

Reuters

The calves that cause earthquakes

For Liverpool’s first goal Shaqiri jinked past Cedric Soares before flashing a cross into the back of Southampton’s net via two deflections.

It won’t go down as a goal or assist but the opener was all Shaqiri’s doing.

For the third goal Shaqiri was more unlucky. His wicked free-kick crashed off the crossbar allowing Mohamed Salah to tap in from a yard out.

No assist, but Liverpool’s players rushed to congratulate Shaqiri for more good work.

The definition of unit

Reuters

The definition of unit

Now time for football to be a bit of a b******. Shaqiri was the surprising fall guy at half-time as Jurgen Klopp looked to shore up Liverpool’s defensive shape.

He took his place on the bench for the second half, as did Mahrez down the M6 in Cardiff.

Like Shaqiri, Mahrez watched his side re-start with a 3-0 lead in the bag and the game seemingly finished.

When Pep Guardiola called for him there was only 29 minutes to play. Still, that was enough time for Mahrez to score his first two goals for his new club.

Impressive bit of levitating

Getty Images – Getty

Impressive bit of levitating

But, before you rush to stick him in your fantasy football side, remember that football isn’t fair.

Mahrez might have scored two goals but the performances of Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling mean the Algerian is likely to remain in the shadows.

You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Either way, Pep will stitch you up by dropping Sergio Aguero the week you put your mortgage on him being the first goalscorer*.

*Don’t ever do that


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