• Premier League

Balotelli substituted after tackle in club friendly

Mike Whalley | ESPN FC
September 5, 2014
Mario Balotelli moved to Liverpool in a £16 million deal from AC Milan last month © Getty Images

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli was substituted after a talking to from referee Chris Foy in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Friday.

Balotelli was involved in a strong 50-50 challenge with Wolves midfielder George Saville and, although no altercation took place, the Italian was taken off soon afterwards.

Rumours on social media suggested that Balotelli had kicked Saville, but sources at both clubs have told ESPN FC that is untrue.

Liverpool won the game 1-0 with a goal from Adam Lallana, with left-back Jose Enrique featuring as he builds up fitness after a long-term knee injury, and fringe players Fabio Borini and Lucas Leiva also figuring.

Manager Brendan Rodgers is aware that Balotelli is likely to attract extra media attention in England following his return to the Premier League from AC Milan in August.

The 24-year-old, who was at Manchester City for two-and-a-half years before joining Milan in January 2013, is arguably Liverpool's highest-profile signing of the summer. After signing Balotelli, Rodgers said that he would not allow the striker to dominate the club's agenda.

He said on August 29: "This is not the Mario Balotelli show. He has a lot of work to do and the star of the team will always be the team. He is going to be treated the same as every player here, that's for sure."

This article originally appeared on ESPNFC.com

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
ESPN staff Close