Liverpool omit Xherdan Shaqiri for Red Star Belgrade trip amid off-pitch concerns

Xherdan Shaqiri has not made the trip to Serbia for Liverpool’s Champions League clash with Red Star Belgrade as Jurgen Klopp is keen to avoid off-the-pitch distractions.

Shaqiri would have been given an extremely hostile reception in Belgrade after the Kosovo-born player celebrated a goal scored for Switzerland against Serbia at the World Cup with a gesture imitating a double-headed eagle, the Albanian national symbol.

Shaqiri also wore the image of a Kosovo flag on his boot.

Kosovo is a former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008, although Serbia does not recognise this.

“It’s a situation where we will go to the fantastic city of Belgrade as a football team to play football, Klopp told Liverpool’s website. “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 percent on football and not have to think about anything else, that’s all.

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