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Shaqiri: I knew I would have a lot of opportunities when I came on

Liverpool's match-winner Xherdan Shaqiri said he knew there would be "a lot of opportunities for" him to change the game when he came on 20 minutes from time in the Reds' 3-1 win over Manchester United at Anfield yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The scores were tied at 1-1 when the Swiss entered proceedings after Jesse Lingard levelled the game following Sadio Mane's opener.

But then Shaqiri changed the course of the game with his 20-minute "perfect" cameo, scoring twice as he was named Man of the Match.

The 27-year-old told Sky Sports: "We know Manchester United play defensively, they aren't going to have a lot of ball possession.

"It was important today to play with high intensity, to press them high, to have the second balls and play forward fast to try and create a lot of chances...

"I was looking at the game and saw there were a lot of opportunities for when I come on...

"I tried to be direct in the game and you can see also I prepared myself very (well).

"I watched the game from outside also, so you can see the spaces - and there were a lot of spaces between the lines.

"I am very good between the lines and try to stay there and pick the ball up to have an impact and stay in the game.

"In the end, I scored two goals and we won the game, that's a perfect day for us."

Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk, meanwhile, hailed Shaqiri as a "game-changer".

He told Liverpool's website: "Big Shaq came on and did the job for us.

"He is a fantastic player. He showed it since the first game against Manchester United in America[IN PRE-SEASO] (during pre-season). He is something different and sometimes that's a game-changer."[/IN PRE-SEASO]

Liverpool's win returned them to the top of the English Premier League, leapfrogging champions Manchester City.

City star Kevin de Bruyne expects the title race to carry on being this tight for the rest of the season.

He said: "I don't know why they can't sustain it - they will go on to the end... They'll try to keep pace with us and vice versa."

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