LONDON (Reuters) – Liverpool have left Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri out of the squad for tonight’s Champions League tie at Red Star Belgrade.
Shaqiri, an ethnic Albanian of Kosovar heritage, scored the winning goal for Switzerland when they beat Serbia 2-1 at the World Cup in June and celebrated with a gesture which appeared to imitate the eagle displayed on Albania’s flag.
Serbia refuses to recognise the independence of its former province Kosovo, whose 1.8 million people are mostly ethnic Albanians, which broke away 10 years ago.
“We have heard and read the speculation and talk about what kind of reception Shaq (Shaqiri) would receive,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said
“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.