Mario Balotelli did not have a memorable display on the pitch in Liverpool’s 3-0 loss to Real Madrid on Wednesday, but it’s what he did as he departed that has some up in arms.
Ineffective up-top in 45 minutes for the Reds in their UEFA Champions League Group D match, Balotelli drew the ire of pundits, Twitter and fans alike as he swapped shirts with Pepe in the tunnel.
The humor of Balotelli swapping shirts with a player of Pepe’s repute is not lost on us, and the Italian striker was subbed off at halftime.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers wasn’t pleased at the idea of it.
Rodgers claimed he was not aware of the shirt-swapping before deciding to take off Balotelli, but did strongly add it was something that “shouldn’t happen”.
“It’s the first I’ve heard of it but I don’t like that. It’s something that doesn’t happen here, it shouldn’t happen here,” he said after the match.
“We had a case of a player doing that last season which I dealt with and if that’s the case again I’ll deal with it again.”
Of course many are claiming this “is the beginning of end” for Balotelli on Merseyside. That seems a bit much. In fact, if there is a problem it’s likely the warning signs extended well before halftime on Wednesday.