Sport

Klopp hopes Shaqiri omission will defuse local tension

Klopp hopes Shaqiri omission will defuse local tension”

Liverpool will be without Xherdan Shaqiri for their Champions League trip to Belgrade on Tuesday evening, with the Swiss worldwide being left at home for safety reasons following his Albanian eagle celebration against Serbia at the World Cup. Shaqiri was born in the former Yugoslav city of Gjilan, which is now part of Kosovo, whose declaration of independence in 2008 has not been recognised by Serbia.

In an effort to avoid controversy and unnecessary "distraction" Klopp has now made a decision to leave Shaqiri at home, stating his intentions to be "respectful" and to exclusively focus on the football.

Liverpool are not concerned about the 27-year-old forward's safety but fear that his inclusion might fuel a hostile atmosphere that affects their...

"Daniel Sturridge, Xherdan Shaqiri and Adam Lallana are all challenging him for places in the team at the moment and that may have made Firmino less comfortable".

Their match away at Red Star Belgrade kicks off at 18:55 CET on Tuesday.

Klopp's decision is certainly understandable and makes a lot of sense.

The Telegraph has reported that there are some concerns surrounding taking Shaqiri to Serbia, especially after his celebration after scoring in the World Cup for Switzerland.

"We are Liverpool FC, a big club, a football team but we don't have any message further than that. We have no political message, absolutely not", Mr Klopp said. "We didn't want a story beside a football story and that's why we decided", he said. "So, for that reason, Shaq is not involved and he accepts and understands this", he added, BBC reported.

"[Sunday] was the first time in 100 per cent training so we will now have to see what we do with him for [Tuesday]".

Klopp has been boosted by the return of Dejan Lovren and Naby Keita, both of whom missed Saturday's game at Arsenal.

Group C rivals Napoli have already dropped points in Serbia after a goalless draw in the Rajko Mitic Stadium on match day one.

Alberto Moreno is pushing for a recall after being given a rare run-out against Cardiff City last week but I think it's safe to say Andrew Robertson will keep his place at left-back tomorrow night.

"He's played in 69 games since the start of last season, more than any other player in the Premier League".



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