Liverpool Omit Shaqiri For Champions League Trip Over Political Tensions

Liverpool’s Swiss midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Cardiff City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on October 27, 2018. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Xherdan Shaqiri has been left out of Liverpool’s travelling squad for Tuesday’s Champions League match against Red Star Belgrade, the Premier League club have announced.

The midfielder was at the centre of controversy along with Switzerland teammate Granit Xhaka when they celebrated goals with a pro-Kosovo “double eagle” gesture that represents the Albanian flag during the World Cup win over Serbia in Russia.

The double-eagle is viewed as a symbol of defiance in Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008 in a move that Serbia still refuses to recognise.

The players’ double eagle celebration caused outrage in Serbia and Arsenal midfielder Xhaka and Shaqiri, both of Kosovan-Albanian descent, were fined by FIFA.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said on the club’s website on Monday: “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.”

Klopp added: “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.”

Shaqiri started Liverpool’s 4-0 home win over Red Star on October 24.

Liverpool top Champions League Group C with six points, one ahead of Napoli and two clear of Paris Saint-Germain, with Red Star at the bottom.

AFP

Liverpool Sign Swiss Winger Xherdan Shaqiri

Switzerland’s forward Xherdan Shaqiri (C) warms up with teammates before the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between Sweden and Switzerland at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on July 3, 2018. CHRISTOPHE SIMON / AFP

 

Liverpool have signed Switzerland international Xherdan Shaqiri from Stoke City, the English Premier League giants announced Friday.

The Reds said he had signed “a long-term contract”, with British media reports saying Shaqiri had arrived at Anfield in a five-year deal for ¬£13 million ($17 million, 15 million euros).

The 26-year-old winger’s move follows Stoke’s relegation from the Premier League.

“I’m very happy to be here. It’s a huge club with big history, big players and a fantastic coach (Jurgen Klopp),” Shaqiri told liverpoolfc.com.

“As a player, you always want to be on the biggest stage in football. A few years ago I wanted to come too, but it didn’t happen. I’m really happy that now I’m finally here.

“I want to improve myself too, I want to be with the best and I want to win titles. That’s what I’m here for.”

AFP

Middlesbrough Scuttle Arsenal’s Six-match Winning Run

arsenalArsenal’s six-match winning run came to an end against Middlesbrough but a point was enough to move them top of the Premier League table.

Manager Arsene Wenger – celebrating his 67th birthday – watched his side dominate possession but underwhelm in the final third.

The Gunners managed five efforts on target, but only one worried Boro keeper, Victor Valdes, when he pulled off a great one-handed stop to deny Alexis Sanchez.

Aitor Karanka’s side defended brilliantly and, despite conceding much of the possession to the home side, created the better chances.

Arsenal keeper, Petr Cech, blocked Gaston Ramirez’s header, twice denied the outstanding Adama Traore and also saved from Alvaro Negredo.

With A Bit Tired Legs

The home side briefly thought they had won it in injury time but Mesut Ozil’s effort was rightly ruled out for offside.

arsene-wenger
Arsene Wenger says the energy was a bit down today

Despite remaining in 17th place, Boro should be buoyed by the display and unexpected result.

In his post-match comment, Wenger said his team had the possession but with a bit tired legs. There was not enough left in our legs today.

For him, one remarkable thing was that the team made sure they did not lose the game.

In other matches, Scott Arfield’s 90th-minute winner gave Burnley their third win of the season in a match dominated by Everton.

Xherdan Shaqiri scored twice as stoke comfortably won at hull to move out of the relegation zone.

Nigeria striker, Ahmed Musa, scored his first goal for Leicester City, as the champions stretched their unbeaten home run to 20 games.

Winston Reid scored a late winner for West Ham to extend Sunderland’s losing streak to nine games.

Fernando Torres Tops UEFA’s Best January Signings Poll

Fernando TorresAtletico Madrid striker, Fernando Torres has been considered by fans as the best January transfer signing by clubs in a poll conducted by Europe’s football governing body UEFA on their website.

UEFA.com finished transfer deadline day by asking more than 50 million social media followers to name who they thought had been the best signings of the winter window.

Fans of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League on Facebook, as well as followers of @ChampionsLeague and @EuropaLeague, were invited to make their suggestions using #WinterTransferTop5.

UEFA said that 50 million fans voted before the results were released on Wednesday.

The former Chelsea target-man beat close competitions from Ivorian strikers Wilfried Bony and Seydou Doumbia, who placed 2nd and 3rd. They both joined Manchester City and AS Roma.

Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland and Germany’s Andr√© Schurrle, made the last two of January’s top five signings according to the fans. They joined Inter Milan and VfL Wolfsburg respectively.

Torres, 30, left the boyhood club Atletico for English club Liverpool seven and a half years earlier and later joined Chelsea.

Torres has thus far scored three goals for Atletico since his return with two against cross-city rivals, Real Madrid and one against FC Barcelona.