By Thomas Reynolds
Last Updated: 8th May 2019
Liverpool’s belief-beggaring Champions League semi-final second-leg comeback win over Barcelona saw a second vital assist in two games from Xherdan Shaqiri.
Ahead of the re-opening of the transfer window, the Swiss international’s recent decisive contributions offer a timely reminder of the Reds’ recent knack for cherry-picking Big-Six worthy talent from teams freshly relegated from the Premier League.
Shaqiri’s arrival last summer from Stoke came one season on from the bargain acquisition of Andy Robertson – joint-third in the division’s 2018/19 assists charts alongside Anfield ally Trent Alexander-Arnold – who was plucked from demoted Hull City prior to the 2017/18 campaign.
This season’s relegated sides aren’t exactly festooned with players worthy of blipping on Jurgen Klopp’s radar, but below are a trio who could flourish to the strains of You’ll Never Walk Alone.
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Given how long the Fulham youngster has been hyped for, it’s somewhat surprising he’s still only 18 years old.
Despite so often being linked to top-flight admirers in recent years, his maiden Premier League season has gone fairly unheralded thanks to the Cottagers’ struggles.
His six assists are the most by any player of a relegated team and were bettered by only 18 players from any side in the division.
Originally a full-back, his attacking prowess is such that he’s often featured higher up the pitch in recent campaigns, but Liverpool’s style of play would grant him licence to roam from a defensive berth.
Sessegnon would also provide much-needed cover on both sides of defence as he continues to develop.
Few players among Neil Warnock’s hard-working but limited Bluebirds delegation have screamed upside during their brave but fruitless battle against football gravity.
It says much of their season that Etheridge was their standout man, but without the Philippines international between the sticks things could have been far worse.
A towering presence with a knack for saving spot kicks, the 29-year-old could be an excellent low-cost solution to backup for undisputed numero uno Alisson, with Simon Mignolet rumoured to be on his way out of the club this summer after six seasons of service.
The Divock Origi renaissance may have sated Liverpool’s burning need for another striker for now, but the Belgian seems to build up to his best only after a spell of regular outings he won’t always get.
Despite playing for a side that have spent more time fishing the ball from the back of their net than any other in the division this term, the Serb helped himself to 11 league goals for Fulham.
More impressive than this was his shots-per-game average in the top-flight. Mitrovic is joint-top for this statistic with Harry Kane, Mohamed Salah and Sergio Aguero, having played more minutes than any of the trio to make his average more hard won.
True, he may have failed to convert as many of those chances, but playing for a struggling side means the quality of his opportunities were likely to have been poorer overall than those presented to the illustrious trio mentioned in the previous paragraph.
With his single-minded ability to fashion opportunities for efforts on goal, imagine how many he could plunder for Liverpool. The delicacies served up on either flank by Robertson and Alexander-Arnold are tailor-made for the bullish hitman – who is still just 24.