Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp does not take the Swiss Xherdan Shaqiri to the Champions League match at the World Cup because of his double-eagle gesture at the World Cup – a process that is at least very remarkable.
If Xherdan Shaqiri had known that he was after more than four months later, he might have behaved more calmly. At the World Cup in Russia, the Swiss national player cheered in the service of Liverpool in the first round match against Serbia his winning goal with the double eagle gesture. Shaqiri’s parents are from Kosovo. Above all Albanians live there, and Serbia does not recognize the independence of its former province.
To show the double-headed eagle, the Albanian heraldic animal, is therefore a provocation for many Serbs. The high waves struck. Not only from Serbia hailed criticism, but also from Switzerland. “Unnecessary and stupid” – so the tenor of the domestic media. There was a small fine from the world football governing body FIFA, incidentally, for Granit Xhaka, who showed the gesture as well. Shaqiri then stated only that he had acted “out of emotion”.
Now, Jürgen Klopp, the team manager of Liverpool FC , is an emotional person, but he seems to be able to do without such emotions. In any case, Klopp does not take Shaqiri to the Champions League game of the ” Reds ” on Tuesday (06.11.2018) at Red Star Belgrade.
In other words, he leaves him at home for political reasons, and that is a decision that is at least very remarkable. Equally noteworthy is the fact that the club brings the issue on the table at all, because he could have finally log out of his player as injured.
“Concentrate 100 percent on football”
“We have heard speculation and talk about how it would be received,” said Klopp before the match in the Serbian capital: “Although we have no idea what would happen, but we want to go there and to 100 percent on Focusing football and not having to worry about other things, that’s all. ”
The coach was trying to take the issue of the explosive. Klopp emphasized that Liverpool has no political message. One wants to avoid “all distractions” in the competition, “which is important for football and only for football”.
Protect players, not provoke opponents
With “other things” Klopp means the safety of his 27-year-old midfielder. But Klopp apparently pursues two goals. He wants to protect Shaqiri and not provoke Belgrade fans by setting him up. “We need to calm the situation because we can not resolve it, we are in Serbia and respect the country one hundred percent, politics is always in the life, but we are here to play football and we have to make sure we are focus on it, “he said. He looks forward to “a great Champions League game”.
Shaqiri accepted the decision, Klopp said: “He understands that. He’s our player, we love him, and he’ll play for us very often, but not on Tuesday.” Belgrade coach Vladan Milojevic did not want to comment on all that. “Everyone knows the situation and that’s why I have nothing to add,” said the coach .
Criticism from Switzerland
There was criticism from Switzerland. “But what is alarming about this is that Liverpool collapse in front of Serbian nationalists, many of whom will be in the stadium today,” wrote the Aargauer Zeitung: “Shaqiri does not want to fly to Belgrade, he is not brave, smart still smart. ” Klopp wipes it away: “It could have been a story and we did not want a story next to football – that’s why we decided that way.”
Sporty is the decision for Liverpool no weakening. The team is so heavily staffed that the absence of the Swiss will not be noticed. Shaqiri would not have thought that his double-eagle gesture caught up with him again.