Arsenal legend Wright: Shaqiri close to Coutinho at Liverpool


Jurgen Klopp's side emerged as comfortable winners when they faced Red Star Belgrade at Anfield but a clash away from home could be trickier as Belgrade held Napoli at home and put in a resolute display.

Shaqiri sparked controversy at the World Cup by scoring a late victor against Serbia and making a "double-headed eagle" gesture, in reference to the symbol on the flag of Albania.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has deliberately excluded Switzerland worldwide, Xherdan Shaqiri, from The Reds' squad to face Serbian side Red Star Belgrade (FK Crvena Zvezda) in their Tuesday's Champions League Group C clash at the Rajko Mitic Stadium in Belgrade, and he explains that the decision was taken to save the club a possible distraction as a result of political tension in the region - the player's land of birth.

Federation Internationale de Football Association fined Shaqiri 10,000 Swiss francs ($9,951.24) for the gesture, along with team mate Granit Xhaka, another ethnic Albanian of Kosovar heritage, who scored Switzerland's equaliser in the same game and celebrated with a similar signal. Despite settling in very well at Liverpool and turning into one of the bargain signings of the summer, Jurgen Klopp has taken the decision to leave the in-form attacker out of his plans for Tuesday's trip to the Serbian capital.

Klopp isn't anxious about the safety of Shaqiri, rather he'd prefer to keep the narrative around football than politics.

"We are good, we are in a good moment as a team, as a club, everything is fine so that's it.", he said, as quoted by the Mirror.

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Jürgen Klopp said he had taken the decision "to avoid any distractions".

"We get extra energy from the stands, and although this may not have much impact on the Liverpool players, I believe that this will be a fascinating atmosphere for them".

Shaqiri plays for Switzerland's national team but has roots in Kosovo, a former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008. "So, for that reason, Shaq is not involved and he accepts and understands this", he added, BBC reported. "We want to focus on that, that's all".

"Yesterday was the first time in 100 per cent training so we will now have to see what we do with him for tomorrow".

Group C rivals Napoli have already dropped points in Serbia after a goalless draw in the Rajko Mitic Stadium on match day one.