Liverpool 1 Besiktas 0: Tie isn’t over yet, says Jordan Henderson
Jordan Henderson discusses his decision to allow Mario Balotelli to take the late penalty at Anfield
Jordan Henderson warned Liverpool their last-32 tie isn’t over yet after Mario Balotelli scored a late penalty against Besiktas in the first leg at Anfield.
The Reds struggled to break down a well-drilled Besiktas outfit, and Demba Ba gave the home side a scare when he broke clear in the first half, only to be denied by goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
Jordon Ibe’s mazy run earned Liverpool an 85th-minute penalty in front of The Kop, and after a lengthy debate, substitute Balotelli pinched the ball off his captain and dispatched his spot-kick.
The 24-year-old fourth Liverpool goal sealed a 1-0 first-leg victory, but Henderson insisted the Reds won’t be complacent ahead of a difficult game in Turkey.
“There is another game. The tie isn’t done yet. There is plenty to play for,” Henderson told ITV Sport.
“We have to go with the same mentality. We have to defend like we did tonight and hurt them on the break.”
Henderson’s leadership skills were tested after Italy international Balotelli demanded to take the late penalty, whilst Daniel Sturridge joined the three-man committee ahead of the spot-kick.
Quizzed by ITV Sport over the decision to give the responsibility to Balotelli, stand-in captain Henderson said: “I wanted the penalty but Mario felt confident and has taken big penalties before. It was a great penalty in the end.”
Liverpool make the trip to Istanbul next week, returning to the ground where they won the Champions League final in 2005.