Liverpool were soundly beaten as they fell victim to a professional Real Madrid performance with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema (2) enough to see Carlo Ancelotti’s team over the line.
The match saw Mario Balotelli lead the Liverpool attack with Daniel Sturridge still struggling to get back to a state where he’d be fit enough to start a game again in the Reds attack.
While Balotelli worked hard during the opening spell of the match, his head dropped as Liverpool went further behind and he was promptly substituted at half-time, potentially for his decision to swap shirts with Real Madrid defender Pepe.
That’s annoyed plenty connected to the club, described as a lack of professionalism when Liverpool could have still got themselves back into the game as they tried to close down the deficit.
“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 after the match.
Former players Jamie Carragher and Jamie Redknapp were also left fuming in the Sky Sports studio, with Carragher suggesting Balotelli won’t be at the club next season and Redknapp questioning why he was bought in the first place.
However, Liverpool weren’t able to get themselves back into the game as the focus switches back to the Premier League and an important match against Hull City this weekend.
Balotelli could find himself on the bench for the match after annoying his manager, which means a potential chance for Rickie Lambert to lead the attack as the Reds look to register an important three points.
Liverpool will be hoping for a much more impressive performance than the one they put together against QPR last weekend, which saw them sneak over the line with a very fortunate 3-2 win.
Here’s what Liverpool fans on Twitter had to say about Balotelli based on last night.
Need to stop blaming Balotelli, tonight he did OK but the team were better in second half. Beaten by a better team #Balotelli— nxw (@normanwong407) October 23, 2014
Still can't see why shirt-swapping winds people up. The performance during the game is all that matters #Balotelli— Richie Sadlier (@RichieSadlier) October 22, 2014
Swapping shirts at half-time is unbelievable. #Balotelli— Alex McMahon. (@almacca93) October 22, 2014
Funny that Balotelli swapping shirts with Pepe at halftime gets more attention than the Liverpool or Real performance itself. Big deal.— Aysha Ridzuan (@ayshardzn) October 23, 2014
Balotelli's performance and attitude is shocking, if it doesn't improve he surely has to go in January! #LFC— Ryan Johnson (@RyanJFT96) October 22, 2014
I'm satisfied with our second half performance, its no coincidence that we play well when Balotelli goes off— Jack (@Morenotelli) October 22, 2014
Balotelli absolutely disgraceful swapping shirts while going down the tunnel. No desire to get in and sort out the performance. Embarassing.— The Liverpool Way (@AdamLovlallana) October 22, 2014
There's genuinely no difference in Balotelli's performance before and after his substitution.— di (@Dukes0fHazard) October 22, 2014
How are people making Balotelli the scapegoat is beyond me. We were very poor in defense as is the case for the entire season.— Shobhit (@shobhit1) October 23, 2014