Coutinho comments on Liverpool teammate Mario Balotelli

Coutinho has given his backing for Liverpool forward Mario Balotelli.

Brazilian playmaker Coutinho has given his backing to under-fire teammate Mario Balotelli.

The striker was substituted at half-time due to a poor first half display against Real Madrid, in a 3-0 victory for the La Liga side.

Balotelli was far from the only one culpable for the loss, but attracted a furore after swapping shirts at half-time with opposition defender Pepe.

Attacking midfielder Coutinho was quizzed after the game by Italian channel Mediaset, who asked him about the Azzurri World Cup striker.

He said: "Balotelli? We all know that he is a great player and we're happy with him.

"Sometimes things are not positive, but he is a great player, and goals will come."

It's quite easy to get on Balotelli's case at the moment, he is not playing well and he made an error in swapping his shirrts after 45 minutes.

But a sense of perspective is required, with Liverpool's defending, particularly from set pieces, looking woeful.

The criticism will continue coming his way, but knowing he has the support of his teammates, rather than them sharing the doubts many observers have of him, will only help the striker begin to improve.


Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch