Klopp confirms why Liverpool star will be removed from team

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has spoken to the media before the away trip to Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League this week and confirmed the absence of Xherdan Shaqiri.

The Switzerland international was introduced as a substitute on Saturday as the Reds were held to a relatively frustrating 1-1 draw against Arsenal at the Emirates stadium.

With Klopp often choosing to rotate his team for Champions League games, the trip to Red Star Belgrade could have been a good chance for Shaqiri to receive some playing time.

But due to safety concerns relating to his Albanian background, the former Stoke City star will be left out of the trip to Serbia amidst political unrest.

“It’s a situation where we will go to the fantastic city of Belgrade as a football team to play football.” the Liverpool boss said

“We have heard and read the speculation and talk about what kind of reception Shaq would receive and although we have no idea what would happen, we want to go there and be focused 100 per cent on football and not have to think about anything else, that’s all.

“We are Liverpool FC, a big club, a football team but we don’t have any message further than that. We have no political message, absolutely not. We want the focus to be on a great game of football, free from anything else.

“We are keen to be respectful and keen to avoid any distractions that would take focus away from a 90-minute-plus contest that is important for football and only football. So for that reason, Shaq is not involved and he accepts and understands this. Shaq is our player, we love him, and he will play for us a lot of times, but not on Tuesday.

“I have heard so many wonderful things about the city of Belgrade, and the country of Serbia as a whole, from friends and colleagues who’ve visited before, so now I’m really looking forward to taking Liverpool there for a great game of Champions League football.”