It certainly was a good thing, this travel ban, which Jurgen Klopp pronounced on Monday for his player Ksherdan Shakiri. He wanted to protect him from the anticipated hostility in Belgrade. Shakiri himself could understand the measure, Klopp said (although Switzerland has always emphasized in the previous days that he did not have any problems playing in Serbia).
The coach did not allow him to travel to Liverpool against the Champions League against the Red Star. Too many, Klopp was threatened that Shakiri will have to answer at the Belgrade stadium because of his double-headed gesture at the World Cup as a kind of human court. "We read speculations and heard how Shakiri could receive the reception," Klopp said at the club's website. Although they did not know what exactly happened, they wanted to focus on one hundred per cent of football and did not have to think about something else.
From the standpoint of Kloppa, this should be understood. Preferably, as a precautionary measure, refrain from anyone who could cause unrest in the cabin. Especially because Shakiri is not his most important player and not necessary. But there is another look at Klopp's measure.
Because the coach also said that Liverpool associates with Shakiris do not retain any "political message, not even at all". But essentially that's exactly what it is: a very real Liverpool Realpolitik. There were no sporting reasons for Shakira, just political or ethnic: the Shakiris origin and the history of the World Cup in Russia. In particular, this case again shows that there are no sharp boundaries between football and politics; sometimes even confusing that a conflict in the Balkans has hit the English club because the Swiss national in Russia showed gesture in the Albanian way. It can exaggerate a football club.
"Shakiri is our player, we love him and will often play for us, but not on Tuesday," said Klopp. He could also think of a violation of Shakiri's lying, a tactical fire as a diplomatic emergency solution. This would be born in a small style. But he could have avoided all these questions, which are now rightly posed, because the maneuver looks like a failure: a fall in front of those who have long been moody. Shortly after the group's withdrawal, Zvezdan Terzic, Red Star's general director, said that Shaqiri would be under "incredible psychological pressure" when he traveled to Belgrade. It almost sounded like a threat, but that did not mean that. Because Terzic also said: "Red Star will do everything to make Shakira feel like it's football here, it's our duty to protect him in unwanted situations."
Two weeks ago, Serbian spectators at Anfield in Liverpool violently insulted and insulted Shakiri during the match. And the message Klopp unwillingly sends is: If only enough pressure is applied, someone will eventually be impressed and leave the path. And that in Europe, on the most important football competition, in 2018. In the end, Clopp also allows the fears to influence the rules and influence that Liverpool has and who is not.
On Clopp's planet, it affects politics
On Monday night, Klopp held a press conference in Belgrade and again asked if Shakiri accepted that decision. His players always did it, Klopp said. Just be here to play football. After all, he continued: "Politics always affects life, at least on the planet on which I live." This is more than many sports officials acknowledge.