Brendan Rodgers is determined to ensure that there will be no further penalty related arguments…
Brendan Rodgers has moved to end any uncertainly over Liverpool’s choice of penalty takers, ahead of our crucial Premier League clash against Southampton – where any repeat of Thursday’s drama must be avoided.
The clash between Mario Balotelli, Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson has been the source of much discussion since the 1-0 Europa League win over Besiktas, which came courtesy of the Italian’s spot kick.
All three players seemingly wanted the opportunity to win the game for the Reds in the absence of regular penalty taker, captain Steven Gerrard, who is currently sidelined through injury.
However, Rodgers has been quick to downplay the impact of the incident, explaining that securing the win was the most important outcome of the mini-argument.
The Northern Irishman admitted that Henderson had been designated as the night’s penalty taker ahead of the game, but rather than criticise Balotelli, he praised the depth of penalty takers he has at his disposal.
He told our official website: “There’s probably been a lot more of a drama made out of it than what it actually was. We scored the penalty and it’s very clear who our penalty takers are in the team. Obviously when Steven plays, he’s normally our No.1 penalty taker.
“With the players that were initially on the pitch last night, Jordan was our nominated penalty taker. If Jordan, Steven and Mario are on the pitch at the same time, we’d normally have Steven or Mario as the penalty taker. It just varies and really is with the player who is responsible for the penalty.
“Jordan Henderson showed last night what a team player he is. He respected Mario’s position and that he is an outstanding penalty taker, and he was happy to give him the penalty to take it. Mario had the composure and calmness to finish it. We got the penalty and won the game.”
Pressed over his preference of penalty taker, Rodgers added: “We’ve got a whole raft of penalty takers here that are outstanding. Rickie Lambert has hardly missed a penalty in his entire career, so if he is on the pitch then there is another penalty taker.
“If you’re the vice-captain and the captain is on the bench, but he comes on, it is the etiquette to go and then give him the armband. It’s a similar thing with a penalty – if Steven is on the field, there is no drama as he takes the penalty. He is the first-choice penalty taker.
“After that, if Mario is on the field, he takes the penalty. His history shows he’s scored nearly 30 penalties in big games, so he is an outstanding penalty taker. At the time when neither of them were on, Jordan was the nominated taker.
“Then Mario was on the field, [it was a] pressure situation, [and] Jordan was happy enough to take it, but he gave it to Mario, who gets his goal and there is no drama.”