Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has reprimanded Mario Balotelli of easing in his efforts after scoring the penalty in the narrow 1-0 win over the Besiktas in the Europa League.
Speaking at a press conference, Rodgers said: “We need to ensure that whatever level of the game we are playing at we have everyone working as a team and once we got the penalty he [Balotelli] stopped working.”
“So he needs to improve on that facet of his game to play in his position, rather than standing on the side of the football field.”
“He has contributed against Besiktas, he has got the penalty and scored the goal but that is what he is paid to do.”
“He needs to keep that efficiency in his game and show that he can affect the team, whether he is asked to play from the bench or from the start. In a different country and a different style of football that the goal would be all that matters but in this team there is more to it than that.”
Speaking about the penalty incident and the scuffle that ensued, he said, “There has probably been a lot more of a drama been made out of it than it actually was. With the players who were initially on the pitch last night Jordan was our nominated taker.”
“But if Jordan and Steven and Mario are on the pitch at the same time we would normally have Steven and Mario as the penalty-takers.
“History shows he has scored nearly 30 penalties in big games so he is an outstanding penalty-taker, but none of them were on so you have to nominate someone. Jordan was happy enough to take it but he gave it to Mario.”
“That is my job to manage that, it is what I do behind the scenes every day. You see from the way the team has been playing recently the respect and commitment they show for each other.”
“I always assign responsibility every single game and I think this is the first time that has reared its head. I think there was a bit of a kerfuffle around it because they just wanted to make sure he was happy to take it but that was it really.”
“The only thing I would say on it is I don’t like the etiquette a you don’t like to see four or five players around a football looking to take it. It was maybe more the etiquette which was not as we would have liked, but we got the end result.”