15 Sep 2014

'It's a man's game': BR's surprise reaction to 'brainless' Aston Villa incident

Reds striker Mario Balotelli did well to ignore Philippe Senderos' thuggery during Liverpool's 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa, and many fans - myself included - feel that the Swiss hacker should've been disciplined for (amongst other things) kicking Balotelli during the first half of the game. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is blase about the issue, though, and he's dismissed the incident as 'part of the game'.

When asked about the 'brainless' Senderos incident in his pre-Ludogrets press conference today, Rodgers told reporters:

"We expect the ref to protect all our players, not just Mario Balotelli...but it's a man's game; a competitive game, so there's no complaints from me. Football is for men, and it's a strong game"

I agree to an extent - football is a man's game, and certain elements of its inherent physicality need to be retained. However, in this case, deliberately kicking another player is not - and should not - be part of the game. Yes, it was off the ball, but it's still illegal, and even with shin-pads, that kind of kick hurts (it's happened to me on the field, too).

In comparison to his views on Luis Suarez's treatment on the field, Rodgers dismissal of the incident is a little surprising. With Suarez, BR never missed an opportunity to slam the rough treatment he received, but he seems to be taking a different approach with Balotelli.

The Italian can expect similar treatment in many games to come, and the indirect message here from the manager appears to be: Man Up! Rodgers also reiterated what he expects from Balotelli this season:

"He [Balotelli] is working very hard on the training field. I'm sure he's relishing the [Ludogrets] game, and he's been brought in here to do a job, which is to create goals, score goals, and work hard"

Create goals, score goals AND work hard. That just about covers it. Hopefully, Balotelli will get off the mark in tomorrow's Champions League game, which will give him and the club a big boos ahead of the must-win West Ham fixture this weekend.

It seems strange to label the game a 'must-win' at this early stage of the season, but with two games lost already, and Man United looming in the background, the margin for error is increasingly slim.

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22 comments:

  1. I think the CL suits Balo more than the PL. He has more experience than most other lfc players and will hopefully play well for us. YNWA.

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  2. as Rogers said "its a mans game". if liverpool would have won this wouldnt even be an issue so shut up about it

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  3. Rodgers isn't going to make a fuss about Mason again, is he? Course not and he cannot mother Mario. Phil Senderos should have been given a red cards but have seen so many reds moaning all weekend about Villa's play, failing to give them any credit or accept we were beaten fair and square. Look at the stats. Hell, just watch the game again - if you can stomach it. Bad, bad day at the office but that's the way it goes. Next! YNWA!

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  4. I think the difference in tact by Rodgers lies in the different psychologies of Suarez and Balotelli. Suarez got unfair treatment and Balotelli does too, but they react differently.

    When Suarez gets kicked, it tends to drive him on to compete harder and to win. When Mario gets kicked the injustice seems to get him down or make him petulant. That isn't to say Mario would lash out and Suarez wouldn't- I suspect both would/could under this kind of treament but Suarez would be covert with it and Mario overt. Suarez would just leave a foot in to let the defender know it works both ways, but you worry Mario will just flatten someone, that is if he hasn't already disengaged.

    The ref should have protected Mario on Saturday, but he needs to learn to handle himself better. I think that is Rodgers' indirect message and I agree with it.

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  5. I think Rodgers doesn't want to get Mario in that "everyone's out to get me" mentality. He got kicked off the ball and I agree with you that what Senderos did isn't on, I just think BR is trying to stop him getting into a victim "why always me?" way of thinking so he's dismissing it as something that happened to him on Saturday and will no doubt happen again

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  6. Not surprised it happen to you : - )


    balotelli looked really woeful vs villa never threatened them once

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  7. Stop the fuckin whinging, you've just got rid of the filthiest disgusting arsehole that's ever kicked a ball, how you've got the nerve is beyond me.

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  8. It was more of a trip than a kick and if people are seriously calling that violent conduct then we might as well call the whole thing off. The fact people are dwelling on that says it all. In fact, Lallana's challenge on Cleverley was far more threatening in terms of potentially injuring someone but surprise, surprise no one is mentioning that. There's always next year, you might finally beat Villa at your knackered old ground soon.

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  9. Most of the posts I have seen give Villa credit and accept we were poor. The stats though show also we had 75% possession so their task was clear - sit back and defend having got a goal early on.


    They executed that very well and to be honest had we equalised I think they might well have been able to press us again and get another

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  10. Is football still a man's game when played by women?

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  11. It was a kick but I don't think it warranted a sending off as I agree there were other tackles that were more dangerous.


    Off the ball thuggery is cowardly and poor but largely irrelevant to the result. Villa won and were therefore the better side on the day.

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  12. Excellent question. The answer is yes.

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  13. I was going to write a comment but you have summed it up perfectly. BR is not making a big deal of it because he doesn't want Mario to do that either. It was a nothing kick by Senderos and just shows that Balotelli needs to toughen up mentally. What would Costa have done? Kicked him back off the ball and scored.

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  14. Yep. Costa has basically filled the Premier League's 'Magnificent Bastard' position which Suarez left vacant and has been held by the likes of van Nistelrooy and Bergkamp.

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  15. I think the real question is, is football still a women's game when played by men?

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  16. After I read Rodgers' comment I was thinking of why he said it until you stated that it's a 'man up' message from Rodgers, and that's what I was thinking too. If Rodgers starts moaning about it and victimising Balotelli, it's only going to give Balotelli more excuse to react to these future indiscretions at the detriment of himself and the team.

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  17. Agreed, I think he wants to keep a lid on anything related to Mario. He wants to manage the player and also manage the media and the opposition. If Rodgers starts complaining about Mario getting kicked then it just adds fuel to the fire and of course people will keep trying it. The message to Mario is that he needs to be tough and just accept it while the message to the rest of the league is that Liverpool are an honourable but tough team and we can take the punishment without crying about it. However behind the scenes I think he'll have sent a different message and I'd be very surprised if Liverpool didn't bring the incident to the attention of league officials. Maybe it's hard to do without being public, so it might not have happened for that reason, but Rodgers WILL protect his players.


    Sounds like a very carefully crafted response from Rodgers, nothing accidental here. He chooses his words very carefully and has essentially given the perfect statement.


    You know why it seems strange to be talking about must-win games so early? Because we're aspiring to be league champions, not just scrape into the top four. When you're looking to win the league then every week is a must-win and that's not a pressure the team has had on them for a long time.

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  18. I think the big problem with it is that it's so thoroughly unrelated to anything you might call "football". Balotelli is no where near the ball, neither is Senderos. A tackle on a player who has touched the ball is at least related to the game itself. Kicking or tripping someone off the ball for absolutely no reason leaves no room for doubt. He wasn't trying to win possession or effect a tackle, he had no legitimate way of impeding the player, he had nothing in his bag of tricks except to stick out a foot and trip him. The impact for injury is always important but when a player tries to make a legitimate tackle to get the ball and that simply goes wrong because he miss-times it at least he's trying to play the game, he's trying to get it right. Senderos is not playing football, he's just being an arse. It's dirty play, plain and simple, and you know that as well as anyone else here, no matter what team they support.

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  19. There is a few manly women out there.

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  20. Maybe Rodgers didn't see the incident? Or maybe he is just worried about moaning about the ref and getting in trouble?
    It does also seem a little like he is trying to deflect attention away from Balotelli.

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  21. To be fair Balotelli did not react badly either at the time or by moaning about it afterwards. Agree though the best reaction would be to out muscle and outskill the defender and then score.


    Sly kicks back at the defender are unnecessary and likely to be counter productive

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  22. The fact remains though if the ref sees that its a different game, thats what the rules are for. Part of Villa's gameplan was to roughouse Balotelli, but Senderos went too far and it was a blatant red card offence which should have changed the game, it was miles off the ball, was caught on camera live and spoken about instantly by the sky commentators....if the ref doesn't see it (which he cant have done surely) there will be no comment on it in his match report and Senderos should get an automatic retro ban under the rules no?

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