Balotelli needs to look at himself, says Dalglish

Liverpool manager dismisses Mancini's claim that his players helped get striker sent off

Anfield

Roberto Mancini, the Manchester city manager, last night accused Liverpool players of deliberately agitating to get Mario Balotelli sent off, although he insisted the 21-year-old striker would be made to pay for any damage caused to the dressing room when he stormed out of Anfield on another bad day for his reputation.

The Liverpool manager, Kenny Dalglish, issued a rapid and curt response to Mancini's claims against Martin Skrtel, insisting that Balotelli – whose third red card in 15 months was shown only 18 minutes after he appeared as a substitute – should take a look at himself in the mirror. "I think Balotelli got himself sent off," Dalglish said. "Sometimes if you look in the mirror, you get the answer. Sometimes he doesn't help himself. Sometimes he doesn't get the leeway. But if you help yourself you don't get that. Our boys didn't try to get Balotelli sent off in any way, shape or form."

City insist that Balotelli did not damage the two-inch thick Perspex away dressing-room door, which he slammed and kicked before marching to the team bus, vocally expressing his frustration in Italian. For his part, Mancini claimed that referee Martin Atkinson did not want to issue Balotelli a second yellow card for his barge into Skrtel.

"Every time Mario does something players provoke him," Mancini said. "[My] impression [was] that the referee gave a free-kick but didn't want to give a yellow card. After, all the Liverpool players went there [saying] 'yellow card, yellow card'. Mario should be careful because many players can provoke him." Asked if he felt Skrtel had provoked the referee to send Balotelli off, the manager replied: "I think so."

The aerial infringement on Skrtel was certainly more marginal than the shove on Glen Johnson, which earned his initial booking, only six minutes earlier. But the general demeanour of Balotelli – who in the same fixture last year suffered the ignominy of being taken off after coming on as a substitute – suggested that he was in a desperately poor frame of mind. Mancini suffered the indignity of having to order Balotelli to the dressing room after his compatriot stood on the touchline protesting his innocence to him after the sending off. The manager claimed he could not "remember" what the striker had said but staunchly defended him to the point of indulgence.

Reminded that he had said before that Balotelli was still young, Mancini, who was 47 yesterday, declared: "We said this one month ago, not one year ago. We can't change Mario in one month, two months, three months. He can change. Mario in one moment can do anything. In the last three months he has played well, scored a lot of goals." Balotelli has received four yellow cards, as well as the red, in the past five weeks, having previously gone through the season with a clean disciplinary record.

The 1-1 draw kept City five points clear at the top of the Premier League. However, it was one which owed everything to a colossal display from Joe Hart, whose diving save to deny Andy Carroll in the dying minutes will rank as one of the stops of the season. Liverpool's failure to break through after City lost Balotelli meant that they have recorded four successive home draws for the first time since 1971.

Mancini argued that Dalglish's side had benefited from having had no midweek exertions, unlike his own side in Naples, where Balotelli's trip included a verbal outburst against his clubs' PR staff and a pre-match pizza with his girlfriend, which one of City's coaches had advised against. "There was a difference with Liverpool because Liverpool were fresh," said Mancini. "We were maybe not 100 per cent against Naples [and] this pitch was not easy because Liverpool are a strong team."

The match was inevitably overshadowed by the death of Gary Speed, which led Dalglish to omit the Welshman's friend and international player Craig Bellamy from the side to face City. "There will be a lot of people saddened by what has happened," Dalglish said of the tragedy. "The most important people are his wife and two boys – your heart goes out to them. They will get support because he had a lot of good friends."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Angel Di Maria is shown the red card
tech
Sport
Roger Federer after his win over Tomas Berdych
sport
Life and Style
News in briefs: big pants in 'Bridget Jones's Diary'
fashionBig knickers are back
Sport
James Milner is set to sign for Liverpool this week despite rival interest from Arsenal
sportReds baulk at Benteke £32.5m release clause
News
The controversial Motor Neurone Disease Association poster, featuring sufferer Michael Smith, has drawn a series of angry complaints
newsThis one has been criticised for its 'threatening tone'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral