There’s been quite a bit of controversy regarding an incident that took place last night in Liverpool’s Europa League tie with Besiktas. After Jordan Ibe won a late penalty, captain for the night Jordan Henderson had the ball in hand ready to take the crucial spotter. Mario Balotelli approached, gently removed the ball from his captain’s hands and informed him that he would be taking the penalty himself. A bit of an argument ensued but Balotelli ultimately stood his ground and subsequently scored with a fantastically composed effort.
Steven Gerrard who is injured, was commentating on the game for ITV. Normally very careful with his words, Gerrard decided for some reason that he was going to publicly castigate the Italian striker for “disrespecting” Henderson.
“Jordan should have taken the penalty. Rules are rules. It should have been Henderson. Mario has been a bit mischievous,” said the Liverpool great.
“Credit to Mario, he’s scored, but it’s not nice to see when footballers are arguing. I think Jordan has handled the situation very well. He can see that Mario really wanted to score. Jordan walked away at the right moment and handled his post-match interview very well.
“Jordan is the captain and Mario showed Jordan a bit of disrespect there, but he’s scored a very important goal. I think six or seven players would have wanted to take that penalty so if they all say they are taking it, what happens then? Rules are in place for a reason.”
Maybe Gerrard is right. But perhaps the question really should be; why on earth would Jordan Henderson take a penalty ahead of one of the greatest specialists in the world?