Balotelli under investigation, accused of making threats
Police are investigating allegations that Mario Balotelli threatened a woman said to have taken photographs of his Ferrari.
The Liverpool striker is understood to have been visiting his mother's home in Manchester on Thursday when the incident is alleged to have taken place. The woman called police at 3:05 p.m. to report the Italian had approached her in ''a threatening way'' after he noticed her taking the photographs shortly after he parked his car.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: ''We are investigating a report of threatening behavior following an incident in Pewsey Road, Wythenshawe. Officers will be speaking to all concerned in due course.''
Police sources said it was unlikely either party would be spoken to until Friday at the earliest.
Earlier on Thursday, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says he has already dealt with Balotelli's halftime shirt-swap against Real Madrid. The Liverpool striker risked angering supporters by publicly handing Pepe his shirt with his side 3-0 down after 45 minutes of Wednesday's Champions League game.
Rodgers afterward said he would talk to Balotelli and, as far as the manager is concerned, the issue is now in the past.
"Any action would be kept within ourselves," he told Sky Sports News HQ. "(There was) a conversation on the coach or in this country and, in particular, Liverpool and that was it. Matter closed."
The debate about Balotelli's form shows little sign of abating, though, and two Liverpool greats had their say on Sky Sports in the hours after the Real Madrid game. Graeme Souness questioned whether the £16 million summer signing is able "to see the football picture," while Jamie Carragher went as far as to suggest Balotelli will be sold before next season.
Rodgers defended the player against accusations of a lack of effort but stopped short of guaranteeing his long-term Anfield future.
He said: "I think there'll be that (speculation) -- whether it's deserved or not, it's part of the game and you have to accept that. The boy's genuinely trying very, very hard. Longer-term we'll see where that works out for him, but certainly he is working hard on the training field to improve his opportunities to play and score goals.
"As long as he's doing his best, that is all I can ask as a manager. Whether that best is going to be good enough longer-term remains to be seen, but that's the same for every player.
"I think he's like every other player: He wants to score and obviously at this moment he's not. Hard work will improve your confidence, and when you're confident you have more success. It's as simple as that."
Balotelli's next chance to score his first league goal of the season could come against Hull on Saturday, although his chances of starting could be affected by Raheem Sterling's second-half performance in a central role on Wednesday.
Rodgers said: "He's a very talented young player, Raheem. He's played as a striker as a youngster so he understands that position well. It's something I can consider in the future."