Xherdan Shaqiri left out of Liverpool's Belgrade trip due to possible 'distractions'

Shaqiri I'm a Champions League winner I deserve respect at Liverpool

Shaqiri I'm a Champions League winner I deserve respect at Liverpool

"We are in Serbia, we respect that 100 per cent".

The manager was aware that Shaqiri's involvement in the game would crank up hostility levels in the Rajko Mitic Stadium. Serbia's Football Association lodged a formal complaint at the World Cup after Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka celebrated that way after scoring for Switzerland.

The Switzerland midfielder, who is of Kosovar Albanian descent, made a gesture symbolising the double-headed eagle of Albania after scoring a late victor against Serbia.

Shaqiri also wore the image of a Kosovo flag on his boot.

The players' double-eagle celebration caused outrage in Serbia, and Arsenal midfielder Xhaka and Shaqiri, both of Kosovan-Albanian descent, were fined by Federation Internationale de Football Association. Shaqiri was born in the former Yugoslav city of Gjilan, which is now part of Kosovo, whose declaration of independence in 2008 has not been recognised by Serbia.

Liverpool FC signed Shaqiri, Alisson Becker, Fabinho and Naby Keita in the 2018 summer transfer window as Klopp added depth and quality to his Reds squad ahead of a potential title challenge.

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"We are from Liverpool, we know how big the influence of atmosphere can be", said the Reds boss, whose side comfortably won 4-0 against Red Star at Anfield a fortnight ago. "We didn't want a story beside a football story and that's why we decided". So for that reason, Shaq is not involved and he accepts and understands this.

"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".

Midfield: Naby Keita is back in contention after recovering from a hamstring injury that's kept him out of the last five games in all competitions and the Guinea global could be recalled in midfield if Klopp feels he's fully match fit.

Fellow midfielder Henderson will work at Liverpool's Melwood training ground as he recovers from a hamstring issue, although he is expected to be fit for Sunday's Premier League home game against Fulham, and full-back Clyne is ill.

"We're facing a strong team, but we have prepared well and are ready to give our best", said Red Star coach Vladan Milojevic at his pre-match press conference. He needs two proper sessions for his fitness, which he will get at Melwood, with Shaqiri and hopefully Clyney if he is back from illness.

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