Liverpool FC captain slams “disrespectful” Mario Balotelli after penalty kick
Steven Gerrard unhappy with Balotelli taking Europa League penalty against Besiktas instead of Jordan Henderson
February 20th, 2015
Liverpool have the advantage going into the second leg of their Europa League tite against Besiktas, with Mario Balotelli’s late penalty the difference between the two teams at Anfield on Thursday night.
However, Steven Gerrard was clearly unhappy after the final whistle, with Jordan Henderson assigned to take any spot kicks for the Reds on the night.
Henderson went to retrieve the ball to take the penalty only for Balotelli to insist he took the spot kick which was converted, although Gerrard felt as though the Italian had been disrespectful.
“Basically Henderson should have took that penalty,” Gerrard said. “I think Mario has been a bit mischievous by stepping in front of him and going against what the manager’s plans before the game.
“Credit to him, he’s scored, but it would be very interesting in that dressing room if he’d have missed that penalty.
“I think we’d have had a similar situation to what happened at Everton a couple of weeks ago (when Kevin Mirallas stepped ahead of regular taker Leighton Baines and missed).
“It’s not nice to see when players are taking it off each other and stuff, for me, rules are rules and codes are codes inside a dressing room and when a manager selects a penalty taker that player should take it.
“Jordan is the captain and Mario showed Jordan a bit of disrespect there, but he’s scored a very important goal.”
Balotelli, a #16million summer signing from AC Milan, played down the controversy, writing on Instagram: “Thank you Hendo for let me take the penalty. Stop drama now. We won that’s what it counts. We are a team and especially we are Liverpool. Come on guys.”