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24 touches, 2 shots - Mario Balotelli disappoints again for Liverpool

Balotelli had little impact in the 3-0 defeat to Real Madrid on Wednesday night before being withdrawn at half-time.

Mario Balotelli Vs Real Madrid

The Italian offered very little in his brief spell against the current European champions, with manager Brendan Rodgers removing him after 45 minutes for what were described as ‘tactical’ reasons.

Nonetheless, it was the Italian striker who grabbed the headlines in this tie by swapping his shirt with Madrid’s Pepe at the midway point.

This was the £16 million-man's opportunity to prove his worth - to show he is a ‘big game player’ - but he failed to do so. In 45 minutes, he fashioned two attempts at goal - both of which missed the intended target.

Four of his 23 touches in the first period came from Liverpool’s multiple kick-offs. He made no tackles, interceptions, clearances or blocks. In fact, both on and off the ball, he did very little.

He will be considered at fault for Karim Benzema’s opening goal, as he simply cantered towards Toni Kroos in the build-up - offering the midfielder the perfect opportunity to loop over a cross to the Frenchman, who despatched with aplomb.

Taking him off after 45 minutes in such an important fixture shows the lack of trust Brendan Rodgers has in his marquee summer signing, and in truth, it will be a performance largely remembered for another incident bringing more negative PR.

Having said this, the Italian cannot be a scapegoat for the club’s deserved defeat.

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