Liverpool forward Xherdan Shaqiri has fired back at the more vocal critics of his professionalism and work ethic.
Pundits Gary Neville had marked the Swiss international down as “unprofessional” during the World Cup and questioned why Liverpool were even pursuing a deal for the 26-year-old, while brother Phil went one further and branded him a “disgrace” for his perceived lack of effort during Stoke City’s relegation season.
Shaqiri, who joined up with his new teammates on Wednesday but sat out the friendly victory over Manchester City in New Jersey, outright dismissed said criticism and said that the Nevilles’ club allegiances might have had something to do with their problem with him:
“They were Manchester United players. Maybe they don’t like Liverpool! Some people like you, some people don’t like you. I don’t want to comment on what is said by people I don’t know.”
Adam, meanwhile, accused his former teammate of going missing when the got tough last year. Shaqiri, however, completely refuted that accusation and pointed to his goal and assist record from last year as evidence of that:
“I think I played three years already in the Premier League and I’ve proved I can play here. I can score goals and give assists. I know the league well. I have a lot of experience. I think my score points speak for themselves. I was the top scorer in the team with goals and assists, so I don’t have to say any more.
“I think everybody knows that [I was the best player last season]. My conscience is clear.”
Depending on Roberto Firmino’s match fitness when he joins up and begins training, Shaqiri may yet find himself starting in Liverpool’s opening Premier League clash with West Ham. As it is now, the former Bayern Munich man is likely to provide a rotation for the Reds’ formidable front three this season.