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Brendan Rodgers on Southampton, plays down Mario Balotelli penalty row


Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says his side has enough quality to beat Southampton on Sunday afternoon.

One of the most impressive teams this season, the Saints have been a constant presence in the top four so far and Rodgers is wary of the threat that Ronald Koeman's men will pose at the St Mary's Stadium.

"The games are now being ticked off, and with 13 games to go it would be a big step for us to get the result," Rodgers said on Friday afternoon.

"We respect Southampton and the work that they have done this year. But we know that we have got the quality and confidence at the moment to go there and get a result.

"If we can get a victory and go within a point, it probably takes us to where we thought it would be, edging our way towards [the top four] after a really difficult start. That's what we'll continue to do, just step by step.

"We know it's going to be a tough game, but we know that we have the tools to go to any team and win and play well."

Meanwhile, the Northern Irishman played down the controversy surrounding Mario Balotelli's late penalty in the 1-0 win on Thursday in the Europa League.

"There's probably been a lot more of a drama made out of it than what it actually was," he said.

"We scored the penalty and it's very clear who our penalty takers are in the team. Obviously when Steven plays, he's normally our No.1 penalty taker.

"With the players that were initially on the pitch last night, Jordon was our nominated penalty taker.

"If Jordan, Steven and Mario are on the pitch at the same time, we'd normally have Steven or Mario as the penalty taker. It just varies and really is with the player who is responsible for the penalty.

"Jordan Henderson showed last night what a team player he is. He respected Mario's position and that he is an outstanding penalty taker, and he was happy to give him the penalty to take it. Mario had the composure and calmness to finish it.

"We got the penalty and won the game."

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Brendan Rodgers, Mario Balotelli