Shaqiri left out Liverpool's squad for Belgrade trip due to safety concerns

Doug Mendoza
November 6, 2018

The big omission from the Reds' travelling party was forward Xherdan Shaqiri after Klopp chose to leave the Swiss star at home. Red Star Belgrade, now known as Crvena Zvezda, lost 4-0 to the Reds at Anfield two weeks ago but with their fans banned from that fixture, there was little trouble reported.

Shaqiri is left behind in order to "avoid any distractions" that may be caused by his Albanian heritage.

The Reds boss admitted politics influenced his decision; as the Switzerland global antagonised Serbian fans after his 90th- minute victor against them at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

During the World Cup in Russia, Shaqiri a well as his national teammate Granit Xhaka and Stephan Lichtsteiner both of Arsenal all received fines for their 'double headed eagle gesture' against Serbia.

Meanwhile, Klopp also discussed his decision to leave Xherdan Shaqiri at home.

"No, we didn't speak about it", Klopp said at his pre-match press conference, quoted by the Liverpool Echo.

It looks to have been the simple decision to make in a very complicated situation.

"We come here wanting to play football".

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Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors with 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting to go with six rebounds, five assists and two steals. James was held to just 18 points, his lowest point total in nine games since joining the Lakers . "I don't either.

"It could have been a story but we didn't want to have a story besides a football story". "We want to focus on that, that's all". I was confronted with that and that is the decision.

Liverpool have scored 48 goals in the Champions League since the start of last season (16 games), the most of any team in the competition.

"Asked what the player's reaction was the Reds boss said: "'OK, boss'.

A hostile atmosphere is guaranteed - although not half as hostile as if Shaqiri had travelled - but Klopp is confident his players can cope.

"My job and your job as well is not to do questions which provoke a kind of answer", Klopp said. "We need to be concentrated all the time, because every pause and the smallest little thing is immediately punished". That's how the world is.

"It's not sad, it's the world, politics always has an influence on life".

"We have to be strong tomorrow again football-wise". I expected it differently but most of the English-speaking journalists were asking about it, to be honest.

"We've seen videos of the fans and it's a special stadium but we've got the experience of playing in these stadiums before and we've just got to focus on the game in hand".

Other reports by GizPress

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