Mario Balotelli thanks Liverpool fans at Anfield for holding him back in Chris Smalling clash

The striker was on a yellow card at the time

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The Independent Online

Mario Balotelli has thanked Liverpool fans for holding him back during a clash with Manchester United's Chris Smalling on Sunday, writing on Facebook: "I wasn't alone on the pitch".

The Italian striker was on a yellow card at the time of the incident in the 79th minute, and was restrained by supporters at Anfield before he could react with Smalling, who had forced him into the advertising boards.

United would end the game 2-1 winners after a double from Juan Mata. Liverpool went down to 10 men only 38 seconds into the second half, when captain Steven Gerrard, who had just come on as a substitute, was sent off in extraordinary fashion for a stamp on Ander Herrera.

Balotelli showed his appreciation to the fans by posting the picture on his official Facebook page today, with the caption: "Besides all efforts the game didn’t go our way. But one thing was real clear: I wasn’t alone on the pitch. YNWA."

 

The 24-year-old had only come on after 66 minutes in the game, replacing Alberto Moreno.

 

But the drama did not end there for Balotelli. Following the match he appeared to make an offensive gesture at United supporters, who had goaded him as he left the stadium after the match (see video below).

Warning: Video contains strong language

 

Video courtesy of telandbenjie

The Italian striker was hit with chants of "City reject" and "What a waste of money" as he left Anfield following the loss, passing the away United fans, who had to stay at the ground after the final whistle to ease the crowd congestion.

He then filmed the fans on his iPhone before appearing to make the gesture in their direction.

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