Liverpool confirm 21-man squad for Red Star Belgrade clash


The 27-year-old made headlines during the World Cup after celebrating his victor for Switzerland against Serbia by crossing his hands to imitate an eagle, which appears on Albania's flag. It relates to Shaqiri's Kosovo and Albanian heritage, which he proudly and openly promoted during last summer's World Cup. The former Stoke City man was born in Kosovo, a state that has a turbulent relationship with Serbia - who refuse to recognise its independence.

Klopp did not take the decision to leave Shaqiri on Merseyside lightly. We want the focus to be on a great game of football, free from anything else. So for that reason, Shaq is not involved and he accepts and understands this.

"Maybe if Shaq would have played they (the crowd) go for him or whatever, I don't know, but I didn't think that far", Klopp added.

"I just saw a few articles where one player said something".

"We have to cool the situation down because [we] can not clarify that situation tonight - and it's not our job".

"For the club, Belgrade, Serbia and the whole region tomorrow is an important occasion, and we are looking forward to a spectacle".

Speaking at the pre-match press conference on Monday, the Scotland worldwide said: 'We have experience of playing in these stadiums and we have to focus on the job in hand.

"We come here as a football team". That's why we decided what we decided.

More news: Meghan Markle's mom Doria Ragland could be spending Christmas at Sandringham
More news: China Opens International Import Expo, Promises to Buy More
More news: My hair is turning white due to Manchester United’s performances - Jose Mourinho

Klopp isn't anxious about the safety of Shaqiri, rather he'd prefer to keep the narrative around football than politics. The Serbian side may have fallen considerably from the top tier of football since their triumph in this competition in 1991 but their supporters must still be up there with the noisiest in the world.

"We are used to hard atmospheres, difficult situations".

"We've been watching videos of how the fans act and it's a special stadium".

That was of little concern to Red Star's players, however, as they joined arms and took the acclaim of their supporters on the full-time whistle.

"We need to use it to our advantage". Walking down the tunnel we have to use that noise to our advantage'. "That's what we want to do and that is why I made that decision".

That outing does not go down as an away game for Liverpool, but it did offer another indication of their recent continental struggles outside of Anfield.

Defender Dejan Lovren is also fit again, having missed last weekend's game against Arsenal.

While Liverpool are boosted by the return of Keita from an injury, they continue to be without the services of club captain Jordan Henderson, with the manager claiming the Englishman was close to a return.