Former Liverpool great John Aldridge has said that Jurgen Klopp made the right decision to omit Xherdan Shaqiri from his squad to face Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday.
The Evening Standard reported that Klopp left Shaqiri out to alleviate political tensions in the Serbian capital, and Aldridge believes it was the correct call.
“It’s an interesting decision by Jurgen Klopp – and Liverpool as a club – to leave Xherdan Shaqiri at home for the Champions League tie against Red Star Belgrade,” he wrote for the Liverpool Echo.
“I can understand why they have taken it too to be quite honest, as it’s a sensible one. Leaving Shaqiri at home will just cool the tension a bit as the Switzerland attacker was expected to be in for a rough night had he played in Serbia. It all stems from his celebration at the World Cup which offended Serbians and it’s a smart decision to keep him back on Merseyside.”
This was a big decision from Klopp but clearly Aldridge believes it was the right one. There was certain to be some tension and some harsh treatment for Shaqiri had he made the trip to Serbia, so the club have decided to leave him at home in order to focus on the football once they’re out there. It would have been interesting to have seen if the Reds would have made this same decision were it someone like Virgil van Dijk or Mohamed Salah, but Shaqiri isn’t yet indispensable to Klopp. Georgina Wijnaldum, Fabinho, James Milner and Adam Lallana can all fill in for the Switzerland international and so his absence probably won’t be felt too keenly in Belgrade. It’s good that Aldridge has given Liverpool his backing because this had been somewhat of a controversial call, but in the grand scheme of things it is probably the right decision from Klopp and the club.