Mario Balotelli: Shirt swap was 'sheer madness', says Lawrenson

Mario Balotelli
Balotelli has scored just one goal in 10 Liverpool appearances

Mark Lawrenson says it was "sheer madness" for Mario Balotelli to swap shirts at half-time in Liverpool's Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.

The striker made the swap with Pepe as his side trailed Real by three goals, and he was substituted at the break.

BBC football analyst Lawrenson believes Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers should fine the player and drop him.

"It is all about Mario Balotelli. He lives in his own little world, but there is no 'I' in team," he said.

Liverpool lost 3-0 and lie third in their Champions League group.

Former Liverpool defender Lawrenson added: "Balotelli is 24 years old and a dad. Everybody thought it was time for him to settle down, but, if anything, he is getting worse.

Mario Balotelli
Pepe and Mario Balotelli walked off together at half-time and swapped shirts

"At Queens Park Rangers on Sunday he gave a non-performance, and then last night, it was sheer madness.

"He (Rodgers) will fine him, probably a couple of weeks wages, and pick Rickie Lambert instead at the weekend."

Lawrenson, who won five league championships and a European Cup during seven seasons at Anfield, also criticised the Italian's poor work-rate.

He added: "Everyone can forgive you if you miss chances, but you have to give everything to the team. Does he do that? I don't think so. I'm one of millions of Liverpool fans thinking, 'What is he doing?'

"At least Rickie Lambert will give everything."

Balotelli's 45 minutes against Real
He had two shots in the first half, but both were blocked
He completed the joint lowest amount of passes with 17 - the same as Lazar Markovic who was on the pitch for 23 minutes
Balotelli had 23 touches - only Markovic had fewer

Balotelli, who was replaced by Adam Lallana at half-time, was reprimanded for swapping shirts by Rodgers in his post-match press conference.

"It is not something I stand for. If you want to do that, do it at the end of the game. It is something I will deal with on Thursday," said Rodgers.

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