We're here to play football – Klopp discusses Shaqiri omission

The decision to leave Xherdan Shaqiri out of Liverpool's squad for its trip to Red Star Belgrade was explained by Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri made headlines during the World Cup with his goal celebration for Switzerland against Serbia.   -  Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp explained his decision to leave Xherdan Shaqiri out for his side's trip to Red Star Belgrade, saying his team's focus was purely on the game.

Shaqiri was born in Kosovo, an ethnically Albanian province that fought a war of independence against Serbian-dominated Yugoslav forces in the late 1990s. The Serbian government refuses to recognise Kosovo's independence.

RELATED | Shaqiri left out of Liverpool's trip to Belgrade

The 27-year-old made headlines during the World Cup after celebrating his winner for Switzerland against Serbia by crossing his hands to imitate an eagle, which appears on Albania's flag.

Klopp opted against taking the attacker to Belgrade for Tuesday's Champions League clash and said Shaqiri had accepted his decision.

"I took a lot of times in my life a decision about a playing squad, a travel squad, and so far the player's always accepted it," he told a news conference.

"We come here as a football team and we represent one of the biggest football clubs in the world. That's why we're here, to play football. We want to focus on that, that's all.

 

"And because of the situation, people here all know better how the situation is, we decided not to bring Shaq here.

"And I said it, he's our player, he will play a lot of games for us but not [on Tuesday], that's all."

Liverpool thrashed Red Star Belgrade 4-0 last month and top Group C by a point heading into the clash.

  Dugout videos