Last nights penalty episode involving Mario Balotelli has caused a lot of controversy and split the opinion of many but was Balotelli right to take the penalty off Jordan Henderson?
Mario Balotelli has had 29 career penalties and missed just 2, he has a reputation of being a clinical finisher and most fans would have been far more confident with Balotelli stepping up to take the penalty over Sturridge or Henderson. Sturridge has taken just 3 penalties in his career scoring 2 but he is far from an experienced penalty taker similarly Henderson has had 1 career penalty and missed it.
More importantly Balotelli put the ball in the back of the net and won the game for Brendan Rodgers’ side. The event has brought up more questions about the importance of team instructions with the Mirallas incident for Everton already this season being a moment of great controversy. Captain Steven Gerrard who was on punditry duty for ITV accused the Italian of showing “disrespect” to Jordan Henderson but seemed to ignore the fact Balotelli won the game for his side, an important win for Liverpool in their quest for European glory.
The twitter reaction was very supportive of the controversial Italian with many questioning Gerrard’s decision to publicly accuse the big Italian of going against team orders;
If Balotelli's on the pitch and its him or Henderson on a penalty to save your life? Who you gonna let take it? #nobrainer
— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) February 20, 2015
When you get a penalty in the last five minutes of a crucial European game, your best penalty taker should have the duty. That's Balotelli
— Shane (@Blame_Suarez) February 20, 2015
Was disappointed with they way Gerrard hung Balotelli out to dry after the match last night. Should have just played it down.
— Karl (@Karlton81) February 20, 2015
Mario Balotelli was absolutely magnificent tonight. On the penalty? Arsed about pecking order, go with your best man, it was clearly him.
— Andy Heaton (@Andrew_Heaton) February 20, 2015
Sturridge has missed a couple of penalties for us, hasn't he? Once Gerrard isn't playing and Balotelli is on the pitch, Balotelli takes it.
— Nate Guildea (@NateGuildea) February 19, 2015
Others however were fully supportive of Gerrard’s decision and felt Balotelli was in the wrong;
Gerrard's right in what he said about balotelli. At least he said it
— Kid Curry (Kieran) (@Chana9MUFC) February 20, 2015
Gerrard was having a go at Balotelli and he's right.
— Greg Welby LFC (@gregwelby) February 19, 2015
For future reference Henderson may want to look at this video as Javier Zanetti shows how to stop Balotelli from taking a penalty at Inter Milan;