Klopp Confirms Double Injury Boost As Liverpool Name Squad For Red Star Trip

By on November 5, 2018

naby keita liverpool 2018

Jurgen Klopp has confirmed a double fitness boost but Xherdan Shaqiri has been left out of Liverpool’s 21-man squad for their Champions League trip to Red Star Belgrade.

Shaqiri was born in Kosovo and their independence is not recognised by the Serbian government so Liverpool have decided to leave the attacker at home due to safety concerns and Klopp want’s to focus on football. The 26-year-old was accused of provocation and fined by FIFA after celebrating his winning goal for Switzerland against Serbia at the World Cup by making an Albanian nationalist eagle symbol with his hands.

However, while Shaqiri won’t be involved against Red Star on Tuesday night, Klopp has confirmed a double injury boost with Naby Keita and Dejan Lovren both making the trip to Serbia after returning to full fitness.

Keita hasn’t featured in any of Liverpool’s last five matches in all competitions since suffering a hamstring injury while away with the Guinea squad during the October international break but the midfielder is now back in contention.

Lovren missed the 1-1 draw with Arsenal on Saturday evening due to a minor knock but the Croatian international is now back in the Liverpool squad ahead of their Champions League clash with Red Star.

However, Jordan Henderson remains out as the midfielder is still working his way back to full fitness following a hamstring injury that’s kept him out since the win over Huddersfield Town last month while Nathaniel Clyne misses out due to illness.

Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com:

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

“We will take pretty much everyone. Clyney is ill and will not be involved, but Dejan and Naby are back in the travelling squad.

“Hendo was close, but not close enough. 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. They both should be fine for the weekend.”

The confirmed 21-man squad travelling to Belgrade:

Fabinho, Van Dijk, Wijnaldum, Lovren, Milner, Keita, Firmino, Mane, Salah, Gomez, Alisson, Sturridge, Moreno, Lallana, Mignolet, Robertson, Origi, Solanke, Matip, Kelleher, Alexander-Arnold.

Liverpool head in to the game sitting top of Group C having taken 6 points from their opening three matches so Klopp will be desperate to cement their position with another victory over Red Star on Tuesday night.

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