Liverpool winger Xherdan Shaqiri has revealed his determination to impress Jurgen Klopp against Fulham this weekend after admitting he fully supported his decision to leave him out of the trip to face Red Star Belgrade.
The Switzerland international, born to Kosovan-Albanian parents, remained on Merseyside because manager Jurgen Klopp wanted to dampen local tensions in Serbia, which does not recognise Kosovo as an independent state.
He came back with a bang against Fulham as the Reds’ creative spark, scoring the second goal which secured a 2-0 victory.
Shaqiri, who angered Serbia fans at the World Cup with the Kosovo flag on his boots and Albanian ‘double-eagle’ celebration against them, said he fully accepted Klopp’s decision but was keen to make an impact when named in the starting line-up again.
“There is a very hot atmosphere there and so it was better to stay at home and just concentrate on football,” he said.
“I was fresh, I stayed here and trained with some other players but it doesn’t change a lot. I wanted to give a good performance and, yeah, it was a good one.
“In the end it is the coach’s decision who is playing and against who. If he decides to play you from the beginning, nice and good, but also if you are on the bench, try to come in and make an impact.
“Only 11 players can play and we have a big squad (so) everybody has to accept the decisions of the coach and until now it’s going very good and we are in a good way.”
Fancy news and features on the Reds on your Facebook timeline? Like our dedicated Liverpool page.