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Brendan Rodgers on the defeat, shows concern over Mario Balotelli


Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers praised Real Madrid's quality after his side's 3-0 defeat at Anfield.

The Reds enjoyed an encouraging start to the game but were punished when Cristiano Ronaldo combined superbly with James Rodriguez to give the Merengues the lead with the visitors adding two more goals before the end of the first half.

"I thought we made an excellent start for the first 20 minutes but after they got that first goal, they showed their quality," Rodgers told Sky Sports.

"In the second half we were playing for pride, the player kept going, they didn't stop - they were playing against a top-quality team.

"We defended poorly on one or two of the goals but I can't ask for any more - we probably needed to get a goal in that opening period.

"You can see Real's quality. Speed, technique; you can see why they are champions. The second and third goals are from set-pieces again, it's an issue for us and we have to be better than that

"We'll look at it and learn but we were punished by a top-class side."

With Liverpool chasing the game at 3-0, Italian striker Mario Balotelli opted to swap shirts with Real Madrid's Pepe at half-time, much to the disappointment of his manager.

"That's the first I've heard [about Balotelli swapping his shirt] and I wouldn't like it," said Rodgers.

"It's something that doesn't happen here, it shouldn't happen here.

"We had a case of a player doing that last season which I dealt with and if that's the case again I'll deal with it again."

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Brendan Rodgers, Mario Balotelli