Published: Mon, November 05, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Why Xherdan Shaqiri Didn't Travel To Belgrade With Liverpool

Why Xherdan Shaqiri Didn't Travel To Belgrade With Liverpool

At the World Cup in Russian Federation, both Shaqiri and Switzerland teammate Granit Xhaka celebrated goals against Serbia by using their hands to make a nationalist eagle symbol of their ethnic Albanian heritage.

Swiss footballer Shaqiri, 27, is an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo, where a Serbian crackdown on the Albanian population resulted in a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military intervention in 1999.

In 2008 Kosovo declared independence from Serbia and there remains complications over the relations between the countries.

He also won two Bundesliga titles, two German Cups and the FIFA Club World Cup with the Bavarian giants as well as three Swiss titles with Basel.

"I said it after the first game, I really saw it in that game".

"I am happy to score this goal".

Serbia's Football Association lodged a formal complaint at the World Cup after Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka celebrated that way after scoring for Switzerland. It's a wonderful atmosphere and positive emotions and that's what football should be about.

"We need to use it to our advantage".

I think it will be [tough].

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What is the Federation Internationale de Football Association punishment for such political celebrations? "I worry about nothing and go to play".

All three Swiss players were additionally given warnings, having "infringed the Federation Internationale de Football Association disciplinary code for unsporting behaviour contrary to the principles of fair play".

A decision will be made this morning before Liverpool fly out to Belgrade but, despite Shaqiri having claimed that he could handle the situation, it seems likely that he will be left on Merseyside barring a late change of heart from the manager.

Liverpool have taken the decision due to the potential for the presence of Shaqiri, who is of Kosovan-Albanian heritage, to inflame the Serbian club's supporters.

The Scotland captain joined Klopp at a pre-match press conference in Belgrade on Monday - read on for a transcript of what he had to say...

"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. We have no political message, absolutely not", Mr Klopp said. But we've got the experience of playing in these [kind of] stadiums before and we've just got to focus on the game at hand. "So, for that reason, Shaq is not involved and he accepts and understands this", he added, BBC reported.

"So Liverpool omit Shaqiri from the trip to Belgrade tomorrow", he tweeted.

"He knows where he will be going".

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