Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was shirt swapping the real reason?

The Reds were 3-0 down by half-time at Anfield

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Mario Balotelli lasted just 45 minutes during Liverpool's Champions League tie against Real Madrid at Anfield, in which they were 3-0 down going into the break.

The Italian striker failed to impress in his first-half appearance, the best of his work being a pass to Joe Allen, but Welsh midfielder then curled the ball wide.

Balotelli did not emerge for the second half, he was replaced by Adam Lallana. Footage emerged of the Italian striker swapping his shirt at half-time with Real defender Pepe.

Reds' manager Brendan Rodgers claimed he was not aware of the shirt-swapping before deciding to take off Balotelli, but did strongly add it was something that "shouldn't happen".

"It's the first I've heard of it but I don't like that. It's something that doesn't happen here, it shouldn't happen here," he said after the match.

"We had a case of a player doing that last season which I dealt with and if that's the case again I'll deal with it again."

Watch: Balotelli swaps shirts with Pepe at half-time


(video copyright: Sky Sports)