Liverpool news: Star player to be left out of the squad for Red Star match, Mane discusses contract situation and more - 5th November 2018
All the latest Liverpool news in one place
#1 Shaqiri left out of the squad to play Red Star Belgrade; Lovren and Keita return
Jurgen Klopp as opted to leave out Xherdan Shaqiri for Liverpool’s Champions League away match against Red Star Belgrade.
Shaqiri was born in Kosovo, a state whose independence is not recognized by the Serbian government. The Swiss international caused furore during the 2018 FIFA World Cup when he wore a boot with Kosovo flag in the match between Switzerland and Serbia followed by celebrating his goal against the Serbs with the Albanian eagle.
Klopp is keen to avoid any off-field drama and distraction and has opted to leave Shaqiri at home.
“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 the 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.”
On the plus side, Dejan Lovren and Naby Keita are back in the squad. Lovren missed the Arsenal game while Keita hasn’t featured for the Reds since the previous international break. However, Jordan Henderson is still absent and Nathaniel Clyne misses out due to illness.
#2 Mane discusses contract situation and the title race
It was rumoured that Liverpool opened discussions with Sadio Mane on a new contract at the end of last season. However, the Senegalese international is yet to commit his long-term future to the Reds unlike Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Mane was asked about his contract situation in an interview with Liverpool Echo and he preferred to discuss matters on the pitch.
“I am more focused on the games, things like contracts I leave with my agent, I am happy and concentrating on giving my best for my team-mates, my manager and the fans.” Mane said.
Speaking on the title race following the draw away to Arsenal, Mane said:
“Honestly, we are not thinking about Man City or any other team, There is no point putting more pressure on ourselves. It's still early in the season. We have our work to do and that's what we are concentrated on.
We have to take the positives. Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are very good teams and we have already played them all away and we are still unbeaten. Now we need to try to do even better.”
#3 Mohamed Salah statue unveiled in Egypt
A statue of Mohamed Salah inveiled in Sharm el-Sheikh, an Egyptian resort town, shows him in his famous celebratory pose with arms aloft to the crowd.
However, the likeness of the statue made by sculptor Mia Abdel Allah to the player hasn’t gone down well with fans on social media. The incident is reminiscent of the Cristiano Ronaldo statue that was unveiled in Madeira airport. The sculptor of the Ronaldo statue, Emanuel Santos, reworked it after public outcry that it did not bear a good resemblance with the Juventus superstar.