Despite his recent improvements, Brendan Rodgers still wants to see more from Mario Balotelli…
Brendan Rodgers struggled to contain his anger when he was questioned over Mario Balotelli’s performance against Besiktas on Thursday evening, despite the Italian bagging the only goal of the game from the penalty spot.
Reports in the Daily Mirror claim that Rodgers has issued a warning to his £16m striker, with the forward supposedly revealing that he has far more serious problems than his apparent argument with his teammates.
Balotelli was eventually allowed to take the 85th minute spot kick earlier this week, despite Jordan Henderson being the designated penalty taker. The pair argued for some time over who should take it, with Daniel Sturridge also involved.
The incident was later deemed ‘disrespectful’ by injured Reds captain Steven Gerrard, who spent the night as a pundit on ITV.
Liverpool fans have been rightly pleased with Balotelli’s impact in recent games – with two goals and an assist from his last three cameos from the substitutes bench, including the winner against Tottenham Hotspur.
However, Rodgers has openly revealed that the 24-year-old has no future in the team if he keeps “standing on the side of the football field”.
He told reporters: “We need to ensure that whatever level of the game we are playing at we have everyone working as a team and once we get the penalty, Mario stops 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 on the night, he has got the penalty and scored the goal, but that is what he is paid to do.
“So 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.”