Belfast Telegraph

Shaqiri’s low price tag made people doubt him, says Liverpool boss Klopp

Klopp feels English culture demands high transfer fees.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes the deal to sign Xherdan Shaqiri was viewed with suspicion in England because of his relatively cheap price tag.

The Swiss international was brought in from relegated Stoke for £13million, a relative bargain after the club spent £160m to acquire midfielders Naby Keita and Fabinho plus goalkeeper Alisson Becker.

It raised eyebrows in some quarters but Klopp believes Shaqiri, who has only been given eight minutes of competitive action so far, has already proved his quality to team-mates.

“I don’t think German football culture would tolerate transfers of 150 million Euros, they love nothing more than a free transfer,” he told German broadcaster SPORT1.

“The view in England is different. If a player costs nothing there is a suspicion he must be useless.

“For example, there was a lot of questioning (in England) around our interest in Xherdan Shaqiri.

“We paid £13million for him after he got relegated with Stoke but he’s a fantastic player and now everyone at the club loves him.”

Klopp also leapt to the defence of compatriot Mesut Ozil following criticism of the Arsenal midfielder after his international retirement, in which he claimed he was the subject of “racism and disrespect” from the German Football Association following a controversial pre-World Cup meeting with Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“I find this discussion hypocritical,” added Klopp. “Bad things happened because people were not informed properly.

“This photo was used – first by Erdogan, then by many other people. In politics, little things have always been blown up and big things pushed away in order to continue.

“Normally intelligent people tend to hold back because it is not easy to say the right thing. I would count myself too. All those who have no idea are very loud in these conversations.

“I know Ilkay Gundogan very well, I know Emre Can and Nuri Sahin very well. I do not know Mesut so well. I do not doubt these guys in the least about their loyalty to our homeland.”

Goalkeeper Loris Karius is set to arrive in Istanbul on Friday to complete his two-year loan deal with Besiktas.

The Turkish club will pay a £2.2m loan fee and are obligated to buy him for a further £7.25million in 2020 if appearance and European qualification criteria are met.

Liverpool will also have a 20 per cent sell-on fee if the deal is made permanent.

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