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Gerrard accuses Balotelli of 'disrespect' for taking Liverpool's match-winning penalty

The Reds skipper wasn’t happy with Super Mario after tonight’s win.

Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

LIVERPOOL CAPTAIN STEVEN Gerrard has criticised striker Mario Balotelli for ignoring orders and taking what proved to be a decisive penalty in tonight’s 1-0 win over Besiktas in the UEFA Europa League.

The first leg of the last-32 clash at Anfield looked to be heading for a goalless draw, until Liverpool’s Jordon Ibe was fouled in the penalty area with seven minutes to play.

Balotelli appeared to take the ball from stand-in skipper Jordan Henderson, with the midfielder initially having been primed to take the spot-kick.

And Gerrard, who could hand the armband over to Henderson on a permanent basis when he departs for LA Galaxy at the end of the season, says Henderson should have stood his ground.

“Jordan should have taken the penalty,” said the injured Gerrard on ITV, for whom he was working in a punditry role this evening. “Rules are rules. It should have been Henderson. Mario has been a bit mischievous.

“Credit to Mario, he’s scored, but it’s not nice to see when footballers are arguing. I think Jordan has handled the situation very well. He can see that Mario really wanted to score. Jordan walked away at the right moment and handled his post-match interview very well.

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“Jordan is the captain and Mario showed Jordan a bit of disrespect there, but he’s scored a very important goal. I think six or seven players would have wanted to take that penalty so if they all say they are taking it, what happens then? Rules are in place for a reason.”

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