Liverpool Boss Brendan Rodgers: Mario Balotelli Must Try Harder

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The Italian scored a penalty in the Europa League after snatching the ball away from Jordan Henderson…

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has told striker Mario Balotelli that he must up his work rate and try harder to become an Anfield success.

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Following the controversy surrounding the Italian’s penalty kick from Thursday’s Europa League round of 32 home leg against Besiktas, Liverpool’s manager claim Balotelli was justified, as he is their number two penalty taker. Liverpool won the game 1-0 after the Balotelli’s goal but Reds’ stand-in captain Jordan Henderson was visibly unhappy at the striker taking the ball off him as they were awarded the penalty.

Rodgers was unhappy at the unprofessional arguing which erupted following the penalty being awarded, but of much greater concern was the attitude and way in which Balotelli has played up to him giving his side the lead at Anfield.

The Italian striker seemed to have stepped up his output, having not scored a league goal for the club before his recent midweek winner against Tottenham, though Rodgers is still looking for more from his £16 million man.

This isn’t the first time Balotelli has come under public criticism from his manager, after their game on Boxing Day Rodgers told the press he was unsure if the 24-year-old fit into his system.

Rodgers was similarly critical of the former Manchester City man’s cameo against Besiktas. Reported from the Daily Mail, when asked if he was happy with it, he replied, “No. Not really. No. We need to ensure that we have everyone working as a team and once we got the penalty he stops working.

“He needs to improve on that facet of his game — to play in his position rather than standing on the side of the football field. He has contributed. He has got the penalty and scored the goal but that is what he is paid to do.

“So he needs to keep that efficiency in his game and show that he can affect the team whether he is asked to play from the bench or from the start. If he works harder than when he came on, he will (become an influence).”

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