Liverpool take on Southampton in the battle of top 4 this Sunday. In the pre-match conference, Brendan Rodgers was asked more questions on yesterday’s Europa League highlight of the penalty incident that occurred at the end of the match, with Mario Balotelli insisting on taking the penalty as Jordan Henderson stepped up to take it.
Rodgers refused to speak on the matter after the game but he talked extensively about it in the pre-match conference. In his typical diplomatic way, the Liverpool manager said Balotelli was right to take the penalty but also praised stand in captain Henderson for stepping aside.
a Steven and Mario are the top two penalty takers, but obviously neither of them were on the pitch at the start so you have to nominate someone,a said Rodgers.
a Jordan was nominated, but when we had a penalty Mario had come onto the field.
a So Jordan, being someone with responsibility and trust, gave the penalty to Mario so there was no issue. There was a little bit of a kerfuffle around it because he wanted to make sure Mario was happy to take it, but that was it really.
a I always assign responsibility every single game and I think in my time here that was been the first time this has ever reared its head. We have a whole raft of penalty takers here who are outstanding. Rickie Lambert has hardly missed a penalty in his career, so there is another taker if he is on the pitch.
a If you are the vice-captain and the captain is on the bench and then he comes on, then it is the etiquette to give him the armband. It is a similar thing with the penalty.
a If Steven is on the field there is no drama. He is the first-choice penalty taker. After that if Mario is on the field he takes the penalty. His history shows he scored nearly 30 penalties in big games and he is an outstanding penalty taker.
a But at the start none of them were on, so Jordan was the nominated penalty taker. Jordan was happy enough to take it, but he gave it to Mario. It is his goal there is no drama.a
Rodgers also said that people need to stop pushing Jordan Henderson to be the next Steven Gerrard and has said before as well that there is no guarantee that the former Sunderland player can be the Liverpool capitan.
a People see him as the automatic next captain but that is not necessary the case,a said Rodgers.
a You have to go steady with him. People want to catapult him into the next Steven Gerrard but he is not that, I have said that before. He is an honest boy and team player but Stevie is a totally different player. Jordan is still young. He is not automatically going to be the next captain but he is doing well as vice-captain. Jordan has adapted well.
a At a club like this you cana t help but look back and see who has had the role. You are an ambassador as much as football player.a