Xherdan Shaqiri has been left out of Liverpool’s traveling squad for Tuesday’s Champions League match against Red Star Belgrade, the Premier League club have announced.
The midfielder was at the center of controversy along with Switzerland teammate Granit Xhaka when they celebrated goals with a pro-Kosovo “double eagle” gesture that represents the Albanian flag during the World Cup win over Serbia in Russia.
The players’ double eagle celebration caused outrage in Serbia and Arsenal midfielder Xhaka and Shaqiri, both of Kosovan-Albanian descent, were fined by FIFA.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said on the club’s website on Monday: “It’s a situation where we will go to the fantastic city of Belgrade as a football team to play football.
“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 per cent on football and not have to think about anything else, that’s all.”
“We are keen to be respectful and keen to avoid any distractions that would take focus away from a 90-minute-plus contest that is important for football and only football. So for that reason, Shaq is not involved and he accepts and understands this.”
Shaqiri started Liverpool’s 4-0 home win over Red Star on October 24. Liverpool top Champions League Group C with six points, one ahead of Napoli and two clear of Paris Saint-Germain, with Red Star at the bottom.
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