Mario Balotelli's jersey shame a low point on bad night for Liverpool

Liverpool's Mario Balotelli (R) walks off the pitch at half-time with Real Madrid's Pepe, before swapping shirts in the tunnel

By Paul Hyland

BATTERED Brendan Rodgers finally lost patience with moody Mario Balotelli. After a first-half hiding from Real Madrid which just about ended Liverpool's Champions League knockout hopes, he told him to hit the showers having already swapped his shirt.

Deadly Madrid ripped Liverpool open with precise and accurate passing and with Ronaldo chasing the all-time Champions League goals record, it looked like Rodgers and his players were facing a humiliation.

Balotelli, after a brief, bright spell of effort, went back into his shell and cut a forlorn and moody figure by half-time.

Ronaldo crept a goal closer to Raul's remarkable 71-goal target after just 23 minutes and when Karim Benzema bagged a brace before the break, Rodgers had to act.

His solution was to take Balotelli off and throw on his two expensive summer signings of Adam Lalanana and Lazar Markovic.

Although the move helped Liverpool gain some stability, it failed to generate anything tangible on the score sheet.

Balotelli had capped a miserable individual performance by swapping shirts with Real Madrid defender Pepe (inset left) at half-time, much to the annoyance of fans and teammates alike.