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Balotelli posts on Instagram to reveal why he missed Liverpool's FA Cup clash

Mario Balotelli has taken to Instagram to provide proof that he had a fever.

The Italian striker missed Liverpool's 1-0 FA Cup quarter final win over Blackburn at Ewood Park and had come in for some criticism after not travelling with the team.

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Liverpool man tells critics to 'shut up' in strange video

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has told his critics to "shut up" in a bizarre video posted on his Instagram account.

Balotelli addressed his critics on Instagram. Credit: PA

The Italian forward has received widespread criticism for his performances since joining Liverpool in the summer following an unflattering return of four goals in 20 games, and just one in the Premier League.

Speaking directly into camera, the 24 year-old said:

Do you know me, did you ever talk to me personally? Do you know what I've been through in my life? You just saw me play football in the pitch, so man, shut up.

– @mb459

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Balotelli growing as a person at Liverpool - agent

Brendan Rodgers is pushing Mario Balotelli harder than anyone has in his career, according to the striker's agent.

Balotelli has struggled for regular football at Liverpool, but has visibly improved in recent weeks, with Rodgers' trusting the Italian more.

Mario Balotelli has been given more game time recently. Credit: PA

"Right now, I think Mario has a very interesting development for his career," Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola told RMC.

"He has found a coach who asks of him things that had never been requested of him until now, including the discipline of running without the ball.

"This allows him to grow as a person and as a football player. He'll come out even stronger.

"He is proud of his team (Liverpool) and that is the most important."

Liverpool manager unhappy with Balotelli contribution

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has criticised Mario Balotelli's work rate and told him to step up his contribution.

Rodgers wants Balotelli to work harder. Credit: Reuters

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."

Liverpool boss Rodgers backs Balotelli over penalty

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has given his full backing to striker Mario Balotelli over the penalty furore which blew up in the 1-0 win over Besiktas in the Europa League.

Balotelli took the ball off Henderson to take Liverpool's late penalty. Credit: PA

Rodgers insists the Italy international was right to step in front of Jordan Henderson, captain on the night and designated pre-match taker, even if it looked unseemly at the time.

Injured captain Steven Gerrard, as a guest television pundit, called Balotelli "mischievous" and "disrespectful", but Rodgers said the 24-year-old - who has scored 27 out of 29 from the spot in his career - was following the long-established order agreed earlier in the season.

There has probably been a lot more of a drama been made out of it than it actually was. With the players who were initially on the pitch last night Jordan was our nominated taker.

But if Jordan and Steven and Mario are on the pitch at the same time we would normally have Steven and Mario as the penalty-takers.

History shows he (Balotelli) has scored nearly 30 penalties in big games so he is an outstanding penalty-taker, but none of them were on (at the start) so you have to nominate someone.

Jordan was happy enough to take it but he gave it to Mario.

– Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers
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