Mario Balotelli has dominated the headlines since Liverpool's 3-0 loss to Real Madrid last night. Although that hasn't made much of a change...
The performance from the Reds was way short of the quality required in the Champions League but it seems to be Balotelli who has taken the brunt of the criticism for the side. And the Italian striker's decision to swap shirts at half-time with Pepe, which has angered a number of supporters, did him no favours.
The Liverpool Echo's back-page stated that Balotelli should be made to apologise for actions but there is a feeling that it is being focused on rather too much.
Many feel that the bigger concern for Liverpool should be how far off Madrid they were on the pitch, rather than the actions of Balotelli at half-time.
The Reds have been well off the pace so far this campaign and this was another poor performance, which exposed their problems defensively yet again.
To that end, here are six high-profile pundits who think that Balotelli is simply being made a scapegoat:
I'd still start Balotelli at the weekend. I'm not a big fan of his but he has more class than most. Harsh to put all the blame on him.— michael owen (@themichaelowen) October 22, 2014
Balotelli may have issues with bringing anywhere near the best out of his talent but this shirt fiasco feels like an excuse to hound— Amy Lawrence (@amylawrence71) October 23, 2014
The percentage of analysis/talk abt last night's Anfield game devoted 2 Balotelli is ridiculous. Minor issue compared 2 problems of the side— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) October 23, 2014
Liverpool should be much more concerned by a keeper going for a loose ball in the six yard box with his feet than anything Balotelli does.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) October 23, 2014
Coutinho swapped shirts with Oscar and Sakho with Eto'o at half-time v #CFC last season. Clearly wrong but Balotelli a convenient scapegoat— Ben Smith (@BenSmithBBC) October 23, 2014
Liverpool did well to keep it respectable. Feel sorry for Balotelli. Its not his fault. They knew what they where getting into, didn't they?— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) October 22, 2014
There are, however, those who disagree with this sympathetic stance and feel that Balotelli deserves all the criticism he is getting. After all, how bad was his performance? Exactly.
There can be no doubting the 24-year-old is off form and his decision to swap shirts is one which he should have known would antagonise things further.
It has left question marks over whether Brendan Rodgers should have parted with £16 million to sign him in the summer and here are four pundits who believe Balotelli was way out of line last night.
Sometimes first instincts are best. When Rodgers said Balotelli would "categorically" not be at LFC, wonder if he wishes he'd stuck to that?— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) October 23, 2014
Real Madrid in a different league. Reality check for LFC. Rodgers got a big call to make with Balotelli. Team doesn't look united.— Didi Hamann (@DietmarHamann) October 22, 2014
You can't call Balotelli a clown, that's disrespectful. But I fail to understand how any decent fball judge can go out on a limb to back him— Richard Keys (@richardajkeys) October 22, 2014
Swapping shirts at half-time is worthy of derision, but it's the least of the problems where Balotelli is concerned.— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) October 22, 2014