Date: 24th March 2015 at 7:22pm
Written by:

Mario Balotelli paid tribute to the Liverpool supporter who held him back after a clash with Chris Smalling during Sunday’s defeat to Manchester United.

The Italian has been booked earlier for a challenge on Phil Jones, and looked as though he may recieve his marching orders after he reacted to Smalling pushing him into the advertising boards.

He was restrained by Liverpool supporters in the first row of the Centenary stand however, and wrote on social media: “Besides all efforts the game didn’t go our way. But one thing was real clear: I wasn’t alone on the pitch. YNWA.”

Liverpool season ticket holder Shaun Leatherbarrow said he held Balotelli back as he was concerned he would be shown a second yellow card.

He said: “The way I saw it Smalling sort of shoved Mario off the pitch and Mario grabbed him just to have something to grab on to.

“I could tell from Mario’s body language he was ready to react and I knew he’d already had a yellow card.

“I was saying ‘calm down, leave it, leave it and he was saying ‘OK, OK’.

“I’m only 5ft 8in and he’s a big lad so I was struggling to get my arms around him.

“Peter, the lad who sits next to me at the ground, helped me and he’s a police officer who sometimes works at Anfield on match days.

“Afterwards all the lads were laughing and patting me on the back as well as having a go at Smalling.”