After recording a comfortable home win against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League this week, Liverpool will be turning their attention toward the return leg in Serbia. For Xherdan Shaqiri, it is a trip that could prove somewhat problematic.
Although a Swiss international, the former Stoke City man is sure to come under close attention from the home fans in Belgrade on account of his Kosovar heritage.
Notably proud of his dual-nationality, Shaqiri previously informed The Times, “I was born in Kosovo, but I grew up in Switzerland. I live both mentalities, it’s not a big difference.”
A stance that has previously proven to be quite divisive amongst the Serbian fans (a country that fails to recognise Kosovan independence), Shaqiri famously marked a goal at the 2018 World Cup against Serbia with the ‘double-headed eagle’ celebration.
Deployed in the same match when Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka similarly chose to celebrate his familial ties, it has recently been seen in the Premier League after Shkodran Mustafi scored for Unai Emery’s side against Cardiff City – that Xhaka had been behind the assist for that goal played no small part in this.
Whatever of the potential reception he will face, however, Shaqiri remains largely unconcerned.