During the World Cup in Russia earlier this year Shaqiri scored in Switzerland’s 2-1 win over Serbia in Kaliningrad and then crossed his hands to make a double eagle gesture, widely interpreted as paying homage to Albania’s flag.
World governing body FIFA subsequently fined Shaqiri $10,133 for “unsporting behavior contrary to the principles of fair-play” for his celebration.
“It’s a situation where we will go to the fantastic city of Belgrade as a football team to play football,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told the club’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% on football and not have to think about anything else, that’s all.”
Shaqiri, who joined Liverpool from Stoke for in July in a $16.9 million transfer, has Kosovar heritage. Born in the former Yugoslav city of Gjilan, now part of Kosovo, Shaqiri left when he was four years old.
“Personally I can’t imagine that an Albanian will play for Red Star,” Red Star’s general director Zvezdan TerzicTerzic told Belgrade newspaper Kurir after the club was drawn in Liverpool’s Champions League group with Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain.
“I think that Shaqiri will be under unbelievable psychological pressure because he will know where he is coming; he knows that the Red Star is a symbol of Serbia and … I don’t know whether he will play.
“Of course, as a football club we treat our rivals equally and we do not have to deal with the past and the history.
“Red Star must do everything to make Shaqiri feel that he came to play football and it is our duty to protect him in the case of unwanted situations. Let’s be good hosts.”