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Williams & Shaqiri: An evening of contrasting fortunes for Liverpool’s Euro stars

Williams & Shaqiri: An evening of contrasting fortunes for Liverpool’s Euro stars

 

The final round of Euro 2020 Group A fixtures played out this evening, with two of Liverpool’s stars having endured altogether contrasting outings.

Williams’ learning experience

First up was Neco Williams.

The young stopper was utilised from the off in a left-wing back position for Wales, in the Dragons’ meeting with table-toppers Italy.

When all was said and done, it came as little surprise to see a much changed Azzurri outfit emerge with their third successive victory, courtesy of a 1-0 final scoreline.

The game’s only goal arrived late in the first-half, when a concerted spell of pressure on the part of Roberto Mancini’s hosts eventually culminated in Matteo Pessina directing home Marco Verratti’s free-kick:

Amid an altogether subdued Welsh display, meanwhile, the aforementioned Williams struggled.

Time and time again, Italy surged down the right in numbers, with the Liverpool man having toiled in his efforts to come to terms with the explosive Federico Chiesa.

In Williams’ defence, the 20-year-old was placed in something of an unwinnable situation, playing out of his natural position, and provided with very little support in his efforts to keep the Azzurri at bay.

Still, a difficult night all told for a player who no doubt has his sights set on a more prominent role at Anfield next season.

Williams & Shaqiri: An evening of contrasting fortunes for Liverpool’s Euro stars

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 01: Curtis Jones of Liverpool celebrates with teammate Neco Williams after scoring his team’s first goal during the UEFA Champions League Group D stage match between Liverpool FC and Ajax Amsterdam at Anfield on December 01, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Shaq shines

As outlined above, however, elsewhere in Group A, another of Liverpool’s stars lit up the international stage, to guide his nation to a crucial three points.

The player in question? Xherdan Shaqiri.

Shaqiri’s Switzerland made the trip to the Baku Olympic Stadium, for a crunch showdown with Turkey.

The Swiss were aware ahead of kick-off that nothing but a 3-point haul would do, to keep their Euro 2020 adventure alive. This came with Vladimir Petkovic’s men fresh off the back of a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Italy.

When all was said and done in Azerbaijan, though, Switzerland got the job done, and in some style.

Haris Seferovic opened the evening’s scoring with just six minutes on the clock, rifling home a rasping effort from the edge of the area:

And, from here, it proved the Shaqiri show. First, Liverpool’s out of favour attacker picked the ball up 20 yards from goal, before unleashing a wonderful right-footed strike into the far top corner:

Then, after Turkey appeared to have dragged themselves back into things courtesy of Irfan Kahveci, Shaqiri stepped up to the plate once more, finishing off a flowing Swiss counter attack with a trademark left-footed effort:

The former Stoke City man may be fresh off the back of another disappointing campaign, which saw him afforded just five Premier League starts by Jurgen Klopp, but on Sunday, once again, Shaqiri proved beyond any measure of doubt that he remains a potential difference maker each and every time he steps foot on the pitch.

 

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This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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