'Stop drama now': Mario Balotelli's brilliant response to Liverpool penalty row as Steven Gerrard calls him 'disrespectful'

Even when Liverpool are winning the Italian is in trouble

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Striker converts late penalty - Liverpool win. The goalscorer should be a hero but this is Mario Balotelli we're talking about.

During the Reds' Europa League tie against Besiktas last night, Jordan Ibe won his side a late spot-kick  - but whilst the referee had no doubt about pointing to the spot - there was a debate to be had over who would take it.

The controversial Italian argued with captain for the night and designated taker Jordan Henderson before grabbing the ball. With Henderson looking bemused and Daniel Sturridge coming over to try and understand what was happening, Balotelli never failed to loosen his grip.

Eventually he got the ball down on the spot and confidently converted - sending the keeper the wrong way.

As Balotelli celebrated he reserved a special cuddle for Henderson but that didn't stop usual Liverpool penalty taker Steven Gerrard, who was working as a pundit on ITV for the night due to injury, saying the Italian had shown "disrespect".

"Basically Henderson should have took that penalty," Gerrard told ITV.

"I think Mario has been a bit mischievous by stepping in front of him and going against what the manager's planned 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."

Sensing a row brewing - Balotelli took to Instagram to try and calm matters down.

Alongside a picture of him hugging Henderson, he wrote: "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."

Mario Balotelli's post to Instagram


Manager Brendan Rodgers tried to brush off the row, joking Gerrard should have taken it, but he did not wish to take it any further.

When asked to clarify who should have taken the penalty he said: "I am clarifying we won the game 1-0.

"I have a number of outstanding penalty takers with Jordan and Mario and Rickie Lambert.

"We won the game."

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