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UCL: Shaqiri Not in Liverpool squad to face Red Star Belgrade
The Switzerland star angered Serbian supporters with his celebration at the World Cup. After scoring in Kaliningrad, Shaqiri placed his hands together to form the double-headed eagle which represents the Albanian flag. The former Stoke City man also wore the flag of Kosovo on his boots, He was fined 10,000 Swiss francs (£7,632) by Fifa for the celebration.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp took the decision to omit the winger from his 21-man travelling party, which left Merseyside for Serbia on Monday morning.
Klopp is keen to avoid unnecessary distractions as Liverpool look to take a significant step towards qualification from Group C on Tuesday night.
“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% on football and not have to think about anything else,” said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
“We are keen to be respectful and keen to avoid any distractions. So, for that reason, Shaq is not involved and he accepts and understands this.”
Klopp added Liverpool “have no political message” and want the focus to be on the game “free from anything else”.
Shaqiri, 27, is an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo, where a Serbian crackdown on the Albanian population ended with Nato military intervention in 1999.
Shaqiri, who started Liverpool’s 4-0 home win over Red Star last month, was born in Yugoslavia and was still a child when his family emigrated to Switzerland.