Jurgen Klopp insists that security fears are not behind the decision to abandon Xherdan Shaqiri on Merseyside while supporting Liverpool to handle the cauldron of the Rajko Mitić stadium.
The Reds boss says that "common sense" dictated that the Swiss attacker from the squad for the meeting with Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday night was omitted.
Shaqiri, after his controversial goal celebration against Serbia at the World Cup last summer, was hated by hatred, and Klopp did not want that distraction.
"I absolutely do not know any security issues or whatever. The only thing I can say was common sense, "said Klopp.
"It was normal to make the decision, not to force anything. We come here and want to play football.
"If he had come here now and participated, all the questions would be dealt with. I am surprised that the questions are in here, but out there with the Serbian guys all the questions about the situation would have been. That makes no sense.
"We have to focus on football. We have to focus on football. That's what we want to do, and that's why I made that decision. "
Shaqiri had previously insisted that he wanted to play in Belgrade. When asked how the player had heard the news of the absence, Klopp added, "He said, okay, boss."
"It really does not matter, because there's nothing I could write about with any words from myself or anyone else.
"It was a difficult situation, if you like, usually you do not think about such things before a game, but we had to think about it. That was the decision and with the decision the discussion ended for us at that moment.
"Out of respect for the Serbian TV, I had to answer once, but nothing else. I will not make it, said Shaqiri. That makes no sense. It makes no sense to you and it makes no sense for him.
"I have to constantly make decisions that I never expected before. I was confronted with that and that's the decision. That's all."
Even without Shaqiri, the atmosphere on Tuesday night will be incredibly hostile.
Liverpool flew to Napoli in a difficult environment last month, but Klopp is not worried about his players' ability to handle their surroundings.
"No, because we have done it many times now. We often had great atmospheres, "said Klopp.
"Of course Sevilla was where we did not get along so well, but in the end we played a 3-3, which was not so bad. The start was really good, today it may not be possible to fight back against us like this night.
"Even then we played a good game. Sevilla was really on the move with the crowd. It made life pretty uncomfortable for us.
"I did not bring Shaq, so we can focus 100% on football before the match. In the game, they will find someone.
"If Shaq had played, maybe they would go for him or whatever I do not know, but I did not think so far. I did not want to have the discussion we are having before the game. "
This is Liverpool's 200th game in European top club competition.
The Reds are currently leading Group C with six points, Napoli one behind and Paris Saint-Germain two.
If Klopp's team wins in Belgrade, they will only have to defeat in their last two games to qualify.
"Winning, of course, would help enormously," he added.
"I'm not thinking about the other game, but it's obvious they're playing against each other so they do not get three points.
"If we could win here, we would have some control, but only until the next game, because everything is open again.
"Even if Paris loses, they can still win 10 points if they win the two games, and the last one is there. That could at least be possible.
"It's really important that you focus on the job in front of you because it's so difficult here, so different.
"I have never played here, but I have heard since childhood that it is a very difficult place, historically a difficult place. They will try everything. "
Since defeating Arsenal in the Europa League in October 2017, Red Star has been unbeaten in 28 games at home.
"It's a very proud nation and a very proud club that lost 4-0 to Anfield, where there are no supporters, it's all in their favor, which they can use for motivation," said Klopp.
"They will scream as they usually scream in two games, which is the task we cool off with the football we play.
"It's a challenge, they won 4-0 and I said after the game it would have been a lot better if we gave them more play but we did not because we were really good that night.
"The start was wild, so we wanted it, and from that moment on we calmed down the game and had the control.
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"They had their threat, which was obvious, they had their long balls, they won second balls and went behind them, they had these chances, but we defended them.
"It will be clear what they want to do, they can change, their captain is back, Marko Marin could come back, the big striker can be there, there can be several things that cause us trouble if we let it happen.
"It's really exciting to be here, for the first time, when you do not know what it's like, this is a proud football club and they want to fight back."