Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers explains decision to substitute Mario Balotelli
The Liverpool manager says he didn't see Mario Balotelli swap shirts with Pepe at the break
Brendan Rodgers said his decision to replace Mario Balotelli at half-time was purely tactical after Real Madrid were emphatic winners 3-0 against Liverpool.
The Italy international was withdrawn at the break after struggling to have an impact against the Champions League holders at Anfield.
It certainly something [shirt swapping] that doesn’t happen here. We had an incident with a player last year that I dealt with
Cristiano Ronaldo broke the deadlock with a 23rd-minute strike before France striker Karim Benzema bagged a brace before half-time.
And Liverpool manager Rodgers was pleased with the impact of substitute Adam Lallana, who replaced disappointing Balotelli.
“[It was] just tactical. I felt we needed a bit more intensity and work-rate through the middle to try and occupy their centre-halves a bit more,” Rodgers told Sky Sports.
“Adam Lallana came on and done very well. Raheem kept working and trying. It isn’t a natural position but he played in a false number nine role and I thought he was excellent.”
Balotelli incurred the wrath of some Liverpool supporters on social media after the £16m signing was caught swapping shirts with Pepe at half-time.
And Rodgers, who criticised Mamadou Sakho for exchanging shirts with Samuel Eto’o against Chelsea last season, didn’t see the incident but promised he would deal with it.
“Well that is the first I head of it. I wouldn’t like it either. It is something I don’t like to see. I’ve seen it happen in other leagues,” Rodgers added.
“It certainly something that doesn’t happen here. We had an incident with a player last year that I dealt with.
“If that is the case, I’ll deal with this as well.”