Liverpool receive timely boost ahead of Red Star Belgrade encounter

Reports: Klopp Considering Dropping Shaqiri From Belgrade Visit

Xherdan Shaqiri left out of Liverpool squad travelling to Serbia to "avoid any distractions"

Politics will keep Liverpool forward Xherdan Shaqiri from making the trip to face Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League, almost five months after the Switzerland forward made a nationalist hand gesture while celebrating his winning goal against Serbia at the World Cup in June.

"It could have been a story but we didn't want to have a story besides a football story".

Red Star's sporting director, Zvezdan Terzic, cautioned against Shaqiri playing when the draw was earlier this year and the Klopp's decision has been welcomed by Serbian media and Red Star officials - who believe it has defused a potentially volatile situation and the threat of Uefa sanctions. We represent one of the biggest football clubs in the world. We are here to play football.

"It's not like we have no chance of getting points from the following two games", said the German coach.

"We are in Serbia and we respect that 100 per cent".

"It was a hard situation if you want, usually you don't think about things like that before a game but we had to think about it".

Shaqiri, who is Swiss but was born in Kosovo, was left off Liverpool's squad by manager Jurgen Klopp on Monday because the team fears a harsh reception in Serbia during the match on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time).

Asked if they could not afford to drop points away to the group underdogs, Klopp said there would still be everything to play for whatever happens at Red Star's Rajko Mitic stadium.

Liverpool have only lost one of their last 11 group stage games in the Champions League (W5 D5), scoring 33 goals in total during this run (an average of 3 per game).

Shaqiri started Liverpool's 4-0 home win over Red Star on October 24.

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.

After making the £52million switch to Liverpool, his transition into life as a Reds wasn't as smooth as some might have expected but there is no denying that he still has all the tools required to become a fantastic player under Klopp.

Altre Notizie