22 Oct 2014

Photo: Furious BR subs Balotelli for HT shirt-swap with Real Madrid star. Embarrassment?

Balotelli puts his foot in it again (!) The increasingly maligned striker reportedly swapped shirts with Real Madrid's Pepe at half-time, which prompted angry Reds boss Brendan Rodgers to pull him out of the game for the second half. You couldn't make it up!

According to Phil Neville on BBC 5 Live:

"There are some things you don't do, when you are 3-0 down in the Champions League. You don't go swapping shirts in full view."

Photo of the alleged shirt-swap with £20m-rated Pepe.



Rodgers angry reaction comes as absolutely no surprise.

In December, Sakho and Coutinho swapped shirts with Samuel Eto'o and Oscar at half-time during LFC's 2-1 defeat to Chelsea, a needlessly reverent gesture towards two players who cynically scythed down Reds' stars Jordan Henderson and Lucas Leiva at different points in the game.

When told of the shirt-swap after the game, Rodgers barked:

"Well one, I didn’t know that, and two, thanks for telling me because I don’t like that.”

I've defended Balotelli this season, but he's made a silly mistake here. A Champions League game is an adversarial contest; it's supposed to be competitive, and for the duration of the game, the players are - for all intents and purposes - enemies, and should be fighting hard to to retain the competitive spirit for a full ninety minutes.

Swapping shirts at half-time is an absolute joke, and (arguably) gives the opposition team a psychological advantage. It's also a tacit admission of defeat - players should be fired up to win the game; they should be angry about losing, and thinking about ways to get back into the game.

To be honest, it's an embarrassment. That said, Coutinho and Sakho made the same mistake, and neither received the hysterical barracking that Balotelli is almost certain to endure after the game. Yes, he made a mistake, but it shouldn't be blown out of proportion.

As for the first-half - in my view, the Balotelli had a few good moments in the first half, but once again, Rodgers ridiculously played him as a lone-striker, which just doesn't work!

Why can't Rodgers see that?! The manager deserves all the criticism coming his way after the Madrid game, and if he persists in playing Balotelli up-front on his own, then he only has himself to blame if his job comes under threat.

Author:



84 comments:

  1. Rogers has completely lost the plot. I can't see this LFC squad improving in this campaign...

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  2. B R CANNOT DEFEND - Same goals every week - John Henry is no daft - B R looks a gonner - I begged him nort to sign BALOTTELI - sixteen million and nobody will want him -put Carrager in temporary charge and forget B R

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  3. Seriously - SAME GOALS EVERY WEEK - BLOODUY CLUELESS

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  4. They wont improve cause they cant defend - Tranmere would beat them

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  5. balotelli will be sold in january hes not worth 6 million never mind the 16 rodgers paid we wont get top four this year

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  6. Suarez carried Rodgers last year - that is obvious now - if you cant defend a dead ball time to say GOODBYE

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  7. Could we not get Steve Clarke back as defensive coach. We were much better then, I'm sure he'd knock this lot into better shape. Can't be worse that's for sure.

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  8. What a surprise, Balotelli does something infinitely stupid. I honestly think he is too thick to understand what is right and what is wrong. He's the brain of a three year old. People who actually believed he would change really need to wake up.

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  9. balotelli go back to italy! please rodgers, we beg you, just f...orget us and go and manage in spain asap!!!!!!!

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  10. Ludogorets might do it for us,,

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  11. Terry McDermotts perm9:44 pm, October 22, 2014

    Could it be a diversion tactic by Brenden. Maybe he did learn something from Jose M.

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  12. Right so clearly there are major issues. Rodgers IMO is the main cause of the problems this season. He has completely disrupted the way the team plays compared to last season.


    Balotelli was taken off at half time and still we did not score so he is being made a scapegoat.


    if Rodgers persists with this utterly useless CB pairing of Skrtel and Lovren then he only has himself to blame. Ignorance!!! Just like playing one upfront. Keeps on doing the same thing and expecting a different result when it is not coming.


    We played much better compared to the QPR match but there is something that just does not seem right with this team.


    Rodgers will be sacked by the end of the season if he does not get rid of his ignorance and will deserve it.

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  13. We have many problems with the squads.
    1. Keeper, the first goal if the keeper was well on his line, he could have save that..
    2. Defenders, Skertel and Loveren so as glen Jhonson are not good enough, they don't defend tight, how easily Ronaldo passed them and score the first one.
    3. Our Strikers, who are they ? were they existence?

    Someone got money to spend on players, he spend them on donkeys, fans are not to be blame, the manager himself is to be blame for poor performances because its his choice and his philosophy..

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  14. Bring Carragher IN - no clean sheet for 18 games - PATHETIC

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  15. Balottelli is cancer for every team. Ballotteli is guy, who during spell with Inter go on stand with Milan supporters dressed in AC Milan shirt and watch AC Milan game...


    So.... Everything is possible with that moron.


    Bigger problem is, that somebody spend money on that guy, who has history of stupid moves.

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  16. Markovic 20p ? When will Brendon learn leaving your best players out is not clever - he has done it three times and we have lost them all -Tonight the best team won but two goals were almost identical to QPRs.

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  17. Mingolet could easily have dived on the ball for the third goal - chicken.

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  18. rodgers enough is enough! we dont wanna be a development team! Real has never been one either! we are liverpool not a team that climbed from league 1 to premier league! we dont want your type of stupid attack type of footnonsense! you just cant get players to defend properl! you are not of the calibre of Rafa! you wont bring us anything!!!! go ! go! go to spain! orwhereever you wish! we DO NOT WANNA BE YOUR STEPPING STONE and PART OF YOUR LEARNING CURVE!!!!!! please go away!!!!!! the owners what are they expecting?!!! eternal development team to make money on the back of our beloved team?!!!!!! today that stupidity of ronaldo did what he has never ever been able to do at anfield!!!!! because of you rodgers!!!! and your cherished baloteli!!! bringback Rafa!!!!!

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  19. Just like i said, Liverpool have bought only squad players. People saying to me that I'm down in the dumps because I said Liverpool mad a mess again in the transfer window. Didn't buy 1 world class player and spent over £100 million. Yeah Liverpool don't pay huge wages but spend stupid amounts on 'potential' players. Honestly can't see Liverpool finishing top four this season.

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  20. John Henry = KOP knoe B R CANNOT DEFEND - 18 GAMES - COME ON

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  21. I do not think the players which have been are the biggest issue. The transfer committee have a big say in the transfers too.


    Rodgers has lost the plot this season. That is where the biggest problem lies.

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  22. OK, Real is much better team. But defence tonight was poor.

    Johnson, Lovren, disaster.

    Midfield? Allen? WTF?

    Ballotteli?

    Sterling, Gerrard and Henderson, only 3 bright spots in first half.

    In second Lallana show attitude. Emre also...

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  23. Balottelli is cancer for every team. Ballotteli is guy, who during
    spell with Inter go on stand with Milan supporters dressed in AC Milan
    shirt and watch AC Milan game...

    So.... Everything is possible with that

    Bigger problem is, that somebody spend money on that guy, who has history of stupid moves.

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  24. I don't get how people are saying BR's philosophy is bs now when last season it produced the best football. And people blaming skrtel and lovren for not defending well, tbh them two are top defenders, it's just that they need to play better as a unit and definitely need to hire a better defensive coach. I just think BR and the transfer committee totally got it wrong in the market, nothing to do with his philosophy. PS this is not aimed at you, just people in genral

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  25. Agree.

    Formation against Real was clueless. From start of season we watch clueless formations.

    And this is Rogers responsibility.

    I think that Mr. Henry will pull trigger this summer.

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  26. We are a shadow of the team we saw last season and it is because Rodgers has changed the way we have played this season. It is as clear as daylight.

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  27. And people were blaming sahko at the start of the season, i hope he gets fit soon and replaces Lovren because he has been absolutely awful. Now the new scapegoat is balo, dude is really trying but this lone striker thing is not working and needs a change.

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  28. We need someone to come in and sort this defence out because it's nothing short of shambolic. Steve Clarke isn't a bad shout, what about Hansen, don't think he's doing much nowadays. But that being said it doesn't matter whose coaching if the players themselves don't have the desire to go and put there head on the ball. Whatever happens BR needs to work on nothing else than set pieces til the weekend because Hull are decent at them.

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  29. He has changed it but even when playing with last seasons formation (4-4-2 diamond) Liverpool haven't done well. Also he can't play with this formation as he doesn't have the players for that I.e two strikers, but that's also his fault for not getting the players needed.

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  30. We finished 2nd last season so I think you may be a bit confused.

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  31. I mean with the 4-4-2 diamond formation they haven't done well in those matches this season

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  32. I'm thinking Skrtel was worse myself mate, maybe it's time to give Toure another go. Let's face it, he can't do any worse. While we're at it, maybe Brad Jones too. Madrid was quality but some of our defending is just embarrassing.

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  33. Rafa is never coming back pal, we need to get over this because that ship has sailed.

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  34. I have to say, balo was not at fault at all. He did a lot better than most others (attacking players) in the first half. He created more then anyone else. Run more than ever. But okey, if you take him of, least you can do is to get another striker on. Sorry with NO center forward at 0-3 to expect to get a result... What a shame. To make the experiment to play sterling as a CF agains real madrid - you are crazy BR. Try that against the likes of QPR...

    I'm just tired of making a scapcoat out of players like sakho and balo, just to excuse BR (big) errors.

    And how on earth did Glen Johnson stay for 90 min on the pitch. Sell that guy and get wisdom back. Wisdom was rock solid aginst manu again.... GJ can't defend AT ALL! Second goal 100% his fault. In the attack he was as terrible as defensive. Nothing, but nothing positive coming from him.

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  35. so lets all blame balo for madrid outclassing our midfield and defence.

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  36. Well said

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  37. Hehehe, I don't beliece what I'm reading here. Some people are really desperate...

    PLease keep your head cool and think. Did you really beleve LFC will be as good as last year? Suarez was the main man and at this moment we are without Sturridge also. Both strikers scored 50+ goals plus assists last year. Who is going to score like that this year? Take away Ronaldo and Benzema from Real and try to imagine who will score.

    We need to support Rodgers. He is doing well and he needs time. Sturridge must return and so on. In this game players showed good performance. We almost scored and if we did everything would go different way.

    On the other hand, we must be fair and admit Real is top team at the moment. He is destroing every opponent. With offered quite a good resistance and showed curridge and character which shows what we can expect in the future games.

    People, have faith...

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  38. Balottelli is not responsible for tonight defeat.

    But imagine Liverpool player on Goodison with Everton shirt....

    What you will be thinking about that person?

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  39. That is an excuse. We played the diamond vs Spurs and thrashed them. We played the diamond vs Villa with Gerrard & Lucas which was a brain fart by Rodgers.


    The first half vs Madrid was the diamond and we did exceptionally well until our defence let us down again.


    Rodgers picks the team. Skrtel and Lovren have been a shambles all season long yet he persists. Balotelli has been useless on his own upfront and Rodgers has persisted. He has gone with two holding midfielders for most of the season and we have suffered.


    The players do not have any confidence at the moment. Last season you could put any team in front of us and we will rip them to shreds. This season is the exact opposite.

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  40. Rodgers is only responsible for this defeat.

    Allen? Lovren? Ballotteli lone striker? Johnson?

    Rafa will not made such mistakes

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  41. Liverpool definitely could've been better than last year. Yeah they lost Suarez who was the best player last season but if they spent that stupendous amount on world class players then they definitely would've been better.

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  42. From the moment Ballotelli walked through the door there has been an agenda.

    I mean look at this headline

    http://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/523079/EXCLUSIVE-Mario-Balotelli-fighting-Emre-Can-Liverpool-training-Melwood

    Sensationalsm to say the least. The same press do this with certai minorities in our society. F@@@ the press. The boy has worked hard without ever really performing but he still gets crapped on for minors. What about looking at the positives changes in his attitude instead of always focusing on the negative. Sterling recently received a large dose of love from the press too. All this scapegoating has to stop. Its a disgrace.

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  43. Rafa? really? they got knocked out in the qualifying no?

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  44. ...... and Suarez would rip them to shreds.

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  45. So you think that Bilbao is some third tier team?

    Athletic is now better team than Liverpool.

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  46. How much money then LFC would need to spend for the world class? Ok, make a value. James Rodrigez was 80M €. That means we would be able to buy one and a half player only.

    Dreams about world class player are pointless. We needed depth. and that is what was bought. Payers for the future. LFC will improve with time. We need to believe.

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  47. guys please stop saying Rodgers should be sacked.....we were playing against a world class team with world class players..

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  48. I agree with you, diamond fotmation works wonders for Liverpool when they have their best players. This is why I'm saying the reason Liverpool are nowhere near as good as last season is because they wasted their money. Ok they lost Suarez but is he the only striker than can get 30+ goals/assists.

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  49. Last season we had Sturridge, Suarez and Sterling in constant move on top, with Coutinho serving them. This season, Sterling still runs in front and Coutinho has not lost his form, his passes are just more predictable with lesser movement in front of him. Defense is the same only even worse on corners.
    This match was not as bad most here seems to think. RM is just to good at this moment as expected, they have 11 star players on the pitch with tons of CL experience. It will take years to accomplish this and we must do it with less money in the bank.
    Be patient!

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  50. Yeah agreed, some people are just using this as an excuse so they can shout to bring back Rafa.

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  51. Lol future. They've been doing that for that past 5 years. Here we go again... And Rakitic/Kroos £25 million to say the least. We needed depth is what people say when Borini and Suso don't even make the bench, we got players who aren't much better Lambert and Markovic.

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  52. Tactics .. BR really needs to play to the strenght of his players, hope he mans up for once and takes responsibility. How does he expect to earn the player"s respect. That said, taxi for Johnson pls!

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  53. Balotelli was not taken off because of the shirt-swap. Rodgers confirmed that it was tactical. Rodgers also said that he will deal with the error from Balotelli, because Rodgers also dealt with other players who did the same in last season's game against Chelsea.


    It's desperately disappointing, but it could have been like Roma and 7:1 loss at home.
    Balotelli is not the only problem. Very few of our new signings are doing very well.
    We had a very bad transfer window, and are now just an average top-6 team...unless Sturridge gets injury free and we get a decent striker to partner him upfront.

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  54. Less money? You mean £120 million.

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  55. well done brendan, playing a man with no assists, sod all goals and a poor attitude on his own up front! your tactical ineptness is starting to blossom. we defend circa souness era, have you forgotten that rickie lambert is on the payroll???? i said loaning out jordan ibe was a mistake, how i wish his raw enthusiasm and talent was on offer to us now. swallow your pride and admit balotelli was a desperate gamble that hasn't/won't work. depressingly dire.

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  56. bang on! and if i hear him say "character" one more time in a press conference, i will scream.

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  57. The shirt swap was prompted by Pepe apparently, so it's not too big a deal in my eyes.

    Compare Balotelli's performance to Benzema's. Useless nonsense vs hard work for his team.

    I can't wait for Mario to leave. His self indulgent flick towards goal on Sunday vs QPR when shite was 2-2 in 93rd minute was unforgivable. He's wasted his "last chance at a big club"

    Was Borini in the squad tonight?

    Has any of BR's signings done anything of note?

    Does everyone still think that Mario has been unfairly treated or misrepresented over the years?

    Barton was right. Mario is a myth

    All that aside, we are still well placed on the group.......

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  58. I do not think they are, but for all of Rafas failings he was a magnificent C.L manager we were lucky in that respect.
    For a British side to be successful at C.L level they must have a rock solid defense we currently do not have that.

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  59. Pointless to convince you. you are so negative in thinking. Conceder good things. Performance today was good. It's just Real was able to block all our attempts. They are good. Ronaldo is the best. He could score from nothing. Benzema is also good. You can't say that some low team has beaten us. We were playing against top team in the world.

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  60. That was just this year, I am talking about a longer period of time. Both past and future.

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  61. I just think it's ridiculous to be calling for BR's head at this point in the season mate. Madrid are quality and we have to accept that were not at there level yet. What made me chuckle was people moaning about the money BR has wasted then suggesting we bring back Rafa. Have people forgot the money frittered away by Rafa during his spell.

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  62. I think it is ridiculous to be asking for his head too people have short memories but even if Rodgers never wins the C.L it will not be a failure.
    But in saying that i still really appreciate Rafas genius at C.L level and accept he is never coming back.

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  63. Can't see BR finishing the season. I said so after the Basel game and I'm saying it now. All sympathies to him but he is no good for "top flight" job. Absolute no preparation for any of the games these season.


    You got a goalkeeper who let 50+ goals last season and you thought he is good enough to "challenge" for the title next season? And I hope someone kept the receipt for Lovren as asks for refund. Not to mention the other transfers BR did and let Agger leave like he was some ball carrier.

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  64. i for one am not all that disappointed. we all knew it could have been a lot worse. although it was largely due to the fact that madrid eased off in the second half. i still think we can get our season back on track if we win our remaining games this month. there is a lot of competition for that 3rd and 4th spot but i know we have enough to see them off. oh and please dont make yourself look stupid by asking for BR to be sacked. there is still a very long way to go this season. keep calm and YNWA.

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  65. you are not disappointed????? pass us over whatever you are on.

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  66. This problem with shirt swapping at half time is probably peculiar To England. So,just sit the player down and warn him. Secondly,On the contrary, I loved Liverpool today. They exchanged passes brilliantly and fast. Something has to be done about defence, because it really destroys all good work. On Balloteli, he slows down game,but today, three times he found himself with open spaces into the box and no Liverpool player to receive! Mignolet,he has two sides ie very good and then bad enough! Generally from todays match up, I am not too worried,it will come together.

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  67. This dislike of shirt swapping at half time is probably peculiar To England. So,just sit the player down and warn him. Secondly,On the contrary, I loved Liverpool today. They exchanged passes brilliantly and fast. Something has to be done about defence, because it really destroys all good work. On Balloteli, he slows down game,but today, three times he found himself with open spaces into the box and no Liverpool player to receive! Mignolet,he has two sides ie very good and then bad enough! Generally from todays match up, I am not too worried,it will come together.

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  68. therefore rafa,gawd bless him, wouldn't make any difference. oh and he made plenty of mistakes, thats a game we could play all day. shall i start off or your good self?

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  69. you really expected a different result against madrid after the way we have been playing all season. surely you are on something stronger. get help

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  70. where did i say anything regarding the expectancy of the result? you said you were not disappointed, i say that that any 'fan' of the club, who cares about where we are going or what is happening, SHOULD be disappointed...in fact, they should be livid. then again like lots of things in life, some people care more than others.

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  71. I am as staunch a Rodgers fan as there is but some serious questions have to be asked as to why we can't defend any kind of ball into the box.
    You can see the players opting not to pass to Balotelli if they could help it tonight, especially Sterling. Without Sturridge our attack is toothless. Balotelli has been useless and even when he's getting hooked at half time Lambert still can't get a sniff and Borini wasn't even on the bench. How must they be feeling.
    Right now I fear our season is in damage limitation mode until Sturriidge is back

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  72. i was expecting a lot worse against madrid. the result was not as bad as i imagined it would be. hence i am not disappointed about the result. everyone on here (including me) is feeling down about the current situation of the club. so dont think you are part of a special few who "cares". there is still a lot more of the season to be played so calm down.

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  73. yes, well as you point out maybe we should calm down. after all, we have got so much going for us to clinch 3rd or 4th spot. early days.....

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  74. You can tell alot about a man when he's winning but there is an indignity to BR when he's losing that doesn't sit right with me. The defeat to real Madrid happens but I actually believe Rodgers subbed Mario to take the pressure of himself and get the press to Focus on Ballotelli. Ballotelli was for once going at his man and getting in behind Madrid. Yeah his final ball wasn't great but it was definitely his best showing since the Tottenham game. I've seen BR under pressure before and in those moments Downing and Enrique got it in the neck. Im not calling for BR to be sacked Im just pointing out that there is a shark behind the smile when things are going badly. Time to give Malky a call and get some advice I think.

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  75. those pearly whites are a giveaway.

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  76. touch of class from our supporters in the stands for applauding ronaldo when he came off. wouldn't expect anything less from the best football fans on the planet.

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  77. To be fair Sturridge on his own up front is not going to fire us into the top 4. He too needs a partner of world class proportions.

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  78. Balotelli swapping shirts is the least of Liverpool's problems. I mean maybe if this had been a competitive game I could understand this being an issue but at the end of the day I think we need to prioritize the actual issues here and not waste time moaning about something as stupid as swapping shirts.

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  79. Missed most of second half due to upset baby. How was Markovic tonight?

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  80. I'm a negative thinker? No I think I'm a realist. And I didn't talk about today's performance, never said our performance was bad as it was very good. I was actually talking about how Liverpool could've spent that money on better players that would help liverpool niw, rather than potential players for the FUTURE as we are a club who are playing for the present. We're not bankrupt. We don't need to build for the future. We need to finish in the top 4 this season, not again after 5 seasons. And with the players we've bought in (who are not bad but are definitely anywhere near world class) it will be difficult for us to get that top 4 finish.

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