Mario Balotelli: Rodgers reminds striker of 'Liverpool culture'

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Mario Balotelli is doing his best for Liverpool - Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers has reminded Mario Balotelli about "the culture in English football, and in particular, Liverpool" after he swapped shirts with Real Madrid's Pepe at half-time.

The Italian, 24, made the swap shortly before being replaced by Adam Lallana in the Champions League group match.

Liverpool were losing 3-0 at the time.

Liverpool manager Rodgers said: "As long as he's doing his best that's all I can ask for. Whether his best will be good enough, remains to be seen."

"But that's the same for every player - not just for Mario."

"Any action with Balotelli over the shirt swap will of course be kept within ourselves.

"We had a conversation on the culture in this country and, in particular, Liverpool - and that was it - matter closed."

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

But Rodgers insisted the £16m summer transfer window signing is working hard to turn his barren run of one goal in 10 games around.

"Longer term, we will see how that works out for him," he added.

"Certainly he is working hard on the training field to improve his opportunities to play in the team and to score goals."

Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson said it was "sheer madness" for Balotelli to do the shirt swap with Pepe.

The BBC football analyst believes 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.

The result followed a dramatic 3-2 win over QPR in the Premier League at the weekend - a game in which Lawrenson felt Balotelli underperformed.

He 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.

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

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

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

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."

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