Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers revealed he will likely dole out a punishment to striker Mario Balotelli after the Italian forward swapped shirts with Real Madrid’s Pepe when the Reds were 3-0 down at half-time in last night’s Champions League clash, reports BBC
“It is not something I stand for. If you want to do that, do it at the end of the game. It is something I will deal with on Thursday. We had an incident last year with a player and that was something we dealt with internally. It’s something that doesn’t happen here and shouldn’t happen here,” said Rodgers.
Mario Balotelli was captured swapping shirts with the Real Madrid defender was the pair were heading for the tunnel at the break. In the second-half, the Italian international was substituted for Adam Lallana, and following the final whistle Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard appeared hesitant to swap shirts with the camera pointed at him.
While a common practice at the end of the game, managers have a problem with players swapping shirts at half-time as it gives off the impression that their head isn’t on the game. Mario Balotelli was poor for Liverpool in the first-half, and offered little in attack, so it wouldn’t have gone down well seeing him with another players shirt.
His substitution could well have been for his performance and behaviour, despite Rodgers suggesting it was “just a tactical decision”. It’s thought Balotelli will incur a small fine, and a considerable talking to today, but the Liverpool camp are unlikely to disclose.
The Liverpool manager has been left somewhat red-faced after tipping his deadline day signing to finally prove his quality against Real Madrid, but the Reds were dealt a footballing lesson last night.
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