Liverpool boss Rodgers unhappy with Balotelli’s work rate

Mario Balotelli scored Liverpool's winner against Besiktas but manager Brendan Rodgers was unhappy with his performance. 

Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has criticized Mario Balotelli’s work-rate and told him to step up his contribution.

Rodgers gave his full backing to striker Balotelli over the penalty furore which blew up in the 1-0 win over Besiktas in the Europa League at Anfield on Thursday night.

He supported the Italy international stepping in front of Jordan Henderson, captain on the night and designated pre-match taker, even if it looked unseemly at the time.

But when it came to Balotelli’s overall effort during his substitute appearance, the Reds boss was unimpressed.

Rodgers responded "no, not really no", when asked if he was satisfied with the 24-year-old’s stint against the Turkish side, which lasted half an hour.

Rodgers said: "We need to ensure that whatever level of the game we are playing at we have everyone working as a team and once we got the penalty he stops working.

"So he needs to improve on that facet of his game to play in his position, rather than standing on the side of the football field."

Rodgers, speaking to national newspapers, said of Balotelli: "He has contributed against Besiktas, he has got the penalty and scored the goal but that is what he is paid to do.

"He needs to keep that efficiency in his game and show that he can affect the team whether he is asked to play from the bench or from the start. In a different country and a different style of football that (goal) would be all that matters but in this team there is more to it than that."

The Italian has now scored 27 out of 29 from the spot in his career and found the net four times overall since his £16 million summer move from AC Milan, including two winners and an assist for the winner in his last three matches.