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Adam takes shot at Shaqiri as example of Stoke rot


Xherdan Shaqiri has left relegated Stoke City for the greener Premier League pastures of Liverpool, labeling it a move in search of silverware.

Former teammate Charlie Adam thinks that’s pretty rich.

[ MORE: Alisson on the brink of joining PL giants Liverpool ]

The 32-year-old Adam, a former Red himself, says Shaqiri was among the group of players he criticized for shrinking in big moments and not caring enough about the relegation fight.

Here’s what Adam said in May:

“I’ll be honest for the supporters, I think some players have been getting away with murder for a long time and it’s difficult for supporters. It’s not just one or two, I think there are four or five that could be counted.”

Offensively, Shaqiri had the best season of his career. The 26-year-old Swiss international scored eight goals in the Premier League, but was absent from the score sheet from March 3-April 28. Stoke collected just four points during that eight-match span, all draws.

But Shaqiri did score Stoke’s lone goal in the match which saw them officially relegated, a 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace in which there’s no question the stakes were incredibly high.

Asked about Shaqiri on Thursday, Adam did not hold back.

“Was he one of them? Oh, definitely. When the chips are down you look at your big players, you want your big players to bring magic in one moment in the season, and at times we felt like the so-called big players in the squad never turned up for us and never performed.

“Yeah, everybody else could help, but for all the plaudits to so-called bigger players we getting from certain members of the management staff last season – they weren’t producing.”

Shaqiri scored in three-straight February matches, of which Stoke won exactly zero, and pitched in seven assists this season. Huh.

While we don’t know what his attitude was like around the Potteries, it’s very difficult to consider labeling his season a big reason for Stoke’s downfall.

He’s an easy man to scapegoat now, being out the door, but Shaqiri had a decent season for sure. Adam is a strong servant of Stoke, but played in less than a dozen games. This truly seems like the wrong messenger picking the wrong target, though it could help build a bit of momentum for a new season.

Liverpool completes signing of Xherdan Shaqiri

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Jurgen Klopp has his third signing of the 2018 summer transfer window as Liverpool completed the financially sound transfer of Stoke City winger Xherdan Shaqiri, following Switzerland’s elimination from the 2018 World Cup, the Reds announced Friday.

Switzerland didn’t impress in the World Cup, finding a quick exit in the Round of 16 to Sweden, but Shaqiri was one of the bright spots for his national side, scoring a late winner in a critical group stage victory over Serbia and proving dangerous on the flanks cutting inside.

According to reports, Liverpool paid $17 million for Shaqiri, who follows Naby Kieta and Fabinho in the Anfield doors this summer. The 26-year-old spent three seasons at Stoke City, making 92 appearances across all competitions and scoring 15 goals while assisting 15 others. However, with Stoke City relegated, that activated a $17 million release clause which Liverpool was happy to activate.

Shaqiri said he’s wanted this move for some time. “I’m really glad and happy to be here,” he told the official Liverpool website. “As a player you always want to be on the biggest stage in football. A few years ago I wanted to come too but it didn’t happen. I’m really happy that now I’m finally here. I want to improve myself too, I want to be with the best and I want to win titles. That’s what I’m here for.”

Shaqiri has plenty of competition for a starting spot at Liverpool. For starters, he plays on the same side as star Mohamed Salah who lit the Premier League on fire last season with his electric pace and vision both on and off the ball. With Sadio Mane equally entrenched on the other side, Shaqiri will have his work cut out for him. However, he adds important depth to a squad that seemed too heavily reliant on Salah and Mane last season, and with both players participating in the 2018 World Cup this summer, depth will be key to avoid overly tired legs or serious injury.

Shaqiri had “offers all across Europe” according to the Liverpool Echo, but the former Bayern Munich attacker chose to stay in the Premier League and move forward with the Reds.

Report: Shaqiri set for Liverpool medical on release-clause deal

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Xherdan Shaqiri‘s potential transfer from Stoke City to Liverpool has moved from “run-of-the-mill transfer rumor” to “this could actually get done and be announced tomorrow” with shocking efficiency.

[ TRANSFER RUMORS: Malcom to Spurs, Bale to Man Utd “advanced” ]

The 26-year-old Swiss star has an $17-million relegation release clause in his Stoke contract, and after the Potters were relegated from the Premier League in May, neither Shaqiri nor Stoke — who would likely be on the hook for the entirety of his reported $85,000-per-week wages — want any part of one another any longer. According to multiple reports out of the UK, he is set to undergo the standard medical examination on Friday before signing a contract to join Liverpool.

Liverpool seems a pretty natural landing spot for a player of Shaqiri’s 1) technical and physical skill set, and 2) familiarity with the PL and the English game — plus European competitions from his days at Basel — as a whole. The Reds were on the cusp of signing a very difference attacker in Lyon’s Nabil Fekir last month, but pulled the plus at the last minute when unable to agree contract structure for a player with a history of serious knee problems.

[ MORE: Mahrez, Man City share no. 1 goal: win the Champions League ]

Shaqiri is, for all intents and purposes, a perfectly suitable backup plan. The fact that he comes at a price $60 million cheaper than Fekir, and with a full understanding of the league and living in England, are just (massive and gigantic) feathers in the cap of Jurgen Klopp.

Forsberg strike gives Sweden quarterfinal spot

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The Swedes are back in a quarterfinal for the first time in over 24 years, and they can thank one of their young stars for the opportunity.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

Sweden knocked off Switzerland, 1-0, on Tuesday behind a second-half strike from Emil Forsberg.

The Red Bull Leipzig midfielder helped give Sweden the lead in the 66th minute, after a clever run through the center of the box for his first-career World Cup goal.

Forsberg then blasted a low shot towards the center of the goal that was deflected into the net by defender Manuel Akanji.

The Swedes had a number of quality chances in the opening half hour, however, shots from Marcus Berg and the Swedish attack weren’t enough to break past Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer.

Xherdan Shaqiri and his side managed to find a few opportunities of their own towards the latter portion of the first half, but most were relatively tame.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

Forsberg made a brilliant defensive play in the 79th minute to keep the Swiss off the scoreboard, and cleared a header off the line from a corner kick.

Meanwhile, second-half substitute Haris Seferović tested Sweden keeper Robin Olsen in the final moments with a strong header, but Olsen was up for the task and held the ball.

Swiss defender Michael Lang was sent off in stoppage time after taking down Martin Olsson on the edge of the penalty area during a counterattack that had Sweden in on goal.

Sweden will now move on to face either Colombia or England in the quarterfinals on July 7.

World Cup, Day 19 – Sweden v Switzerland, England v Colombia

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The Round of 16 comes to a close on Tuesday, but first, two more nations will round out the quarterfinals field.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

A pair of European surprises kick off the day’s action in Saint Petersburg, while the Three Lions meet a South American powerhouse that is seeking its second quarterfinals appearance in World Cup history.

Sweden and Switzerland will meet earlier in the day, as the former aims to carry its rich World Cup history through its current squad.

The Swiss haven’t reached the quarterfinal phase since 1954, giving Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri something significant to shoot for.

Meanwhile, England hopes to see itself into the final eight, after finishing runners’ up in Group G to Belgium.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

Gareth Southgate‘s decision to rest many of his stars in that match will be an intriguing talking point on Tuesday, but the extended layoff should benefit the Three Lions.

2018 World Cup schedule – Tuesday, July 3

Round of 16

Sweden vs. Switzerland, Saint Petersburg — 10 a.m ET — LIVE COVERAGE
Colombia vs. England, Moscow — 2 p.m. ET — LIVE COVERAGE