Let's stop the drama, pleads penalty rogue Balotelli

The striker was criticised by Steven Gerrard for taking the game-winning spot-kick away from Jordan Henderson but thanks his team-mate for letting him seal the 1-0 victory

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has thanked Jordan Henderson for letting him take the match-winning penalty in his side’s triumph over Besiktas in the Europa League, pleading for no more “drama”.

Balotelli struck the only goal of first leg of their last-32 tie from the spot in the 85th minute but injured captain Steven Gerrard slammed the Italian for disrespect after the game, claiming that stand-in skipper Henderson was on penalty duties.

In the lead-up to the penalty, Henderson had the ball but Balotelli took it off him and, with fellow striker Daniel Sturridge seemingly also interested in taking responsibility from the spot, the oft-criticised Italy international ignored any complaints from his team-mates to score.

Balotelli wrote on Instagram: “Thank you Hendo for let [sic] me take the penalty.. Stop drama now. We won that’s what it [sic] count. We are a team and expecially [sic] we are Liverpool. Come on guys.”

It was only the Italian’s fourth goal of the season in all competitions since joining Liverpool from AC Milan but the 24-year-old is a renowned penalty taker, having converted 21 in a row in his professional career before producing his first miss in 2013.

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