Published: Mon, November 05, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Klopp hopes Shaqiri omission will defuse local tension

Klopp hopes Shaqiri omission will defuse local tension

Xherdan Shaqiri has proved an extremely worthwhile signing for Liverpool since he came from Stoke this summer, but it has been announced that he will not travel to Serbia for their Champions League against Red Star Belgrade.

The double-eagle is viewed as a symbol of defiance in Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008 in a move that Serbia still refuses to recognise.

Explaining Shaqiri's non-inclusion in the squad, Klopp told "It's a situation where we will go to the fantastic city of Belgrade as a football team to play football".

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Ahead of Liverpool's tie in the Serbian capital on Tuesday in Group C, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insisted the side have "no political message" going into the match. We can not clarify that situation tonight and it's not our job.

"We are in Serbia and we respect that with 100 per cent, and I know it's not sad, that's the world, that's how it is". Politics has always [had] an influence on life, on the planet I live at least.

"But we are not here for that, we are here to play football".

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"I realise tonight, I expected it differently, but mostly the English-speaking journalists were asking about it to be honest". But we've just got to focus on the opponent that we're playing and not the group.

The Football Association of Serbia (FFS) also stated that they meant to complain go FIFA about Shaqiri's boots, which are emblazoned with the flag of Kosovo, as well as the display of "several controversial flags" during the Group E fixture between Serbia and Switzerland.

However, the German head coach carefully coaxed Shaqiri into the Liverpool FC team with a handful of substitute appearances before his first start in a 2-1 loss to Chelsea FC in the Carabao Cup.

Montague also understands that Shaqiri *did* want to play in this fixture but has now been denied the opportunity to do so.

The Reds' fourth game in this season's competition will see them face Red Star Belgrade in Serbia on Tuesday.

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

"The only thing I can make sure is that the boys do the job on the pitch".

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