​Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he substituted Xherdan Shaqiri early during the Reds' 3-0 win against Southampton because he wanted more control of the game.

Switzerland international Shaqiri was influential in his first Premier League start for the Anfield side, smacking the bar with a free kick that led to Mohamed Salah's tap in, but was withdrawn as Klopp looked to shut up shop.

As quoted by ​the Mirror, Klopp hailed Shaqiri's influence and revealed he withdrew the former Stoke ace to maintain a firm grip on the game.


He said: "I said to Shaq that I have never taken a player off at half-time after such an influential half but we wanted more control. He wasn't injured.

"Shaq is a fantastic boy. The free kick was outstanding. He tried everything and he is a good player to have. Great offensively, needs a little work defensively."

​Southampton manager Mark Hughes, who managed Shaqiri during their time together at the bet365 Stadium, also praised the diminutive forward after the game.

Liverpool FC v Southampton FC - Premier League

"I had the benefit of Shaqiri's free kicks for a long time," he said. "I'm pleased for him, he's got a fantastic move.

"He's always felt he was a top six player. He's a good guy and he'll add to the character of the group as well I'm sure."

Shaqiri has struggled for game time so far this season, with ​Liverpool's front three of ​Mohamed Salah​Roberto Firmino and ​Sadio Mane regularly selected to lead the line for the Merseysiders.