Mario Balotelli
Henderson and Sturridge disagreed with Balotelli's decision to take the penalty.Getty Images

Martin Skrtel has become the latest player to voice his opinion on the Mario Balotelli penalty row, with the Liverpool defender clearly seeking to play down the incident by declaring that it 'doesn't matter' who took the spotkick.

Italian international Balotelli attracted criticism from teammate Steven Gerrard on Thursday night after appearing to defy the wishes of stand-in captain Jordan Henderson and fellow striker Daniel Sturridge to take the penalty that was awarded in the 85th minute of Liverpool's Europa League last 32 first-leg clash against Besiktas. Liverpool were give the penalty after exciting young winger Jordan Ibe had been felled by Ramon Motta.

Despite Balotelli scoring what proved to be the winner with his resulting effort, Gerrard, who missed the encounter at Anfield with a hamstring problem and instead attended as a television pundit, was surprisingly scathing in his assessment of the controversial striker by accusing him of showing Henderson "disrespect".

Balotelli took to social media straight after the match in an attempt to calm the situation and Skrtel is also keen to move on and accentuate the positives of beating a team who currently sit top of Super Lig after a strong run of form under manager Slaven Bilic.

"The main thing is we scored," he said. "It doesn't matter who scored the penalty, we scored it and won the game. It was key that we won and it's a good thing that we didn't concede. We knew before that they were a good team. They are leading the league in Turkey."

Brendan Rodgers will be similarly eager to avoid any harmful internal divisions at a time when Liverpool can boast a six-match unbeaten run in all competitions and who finally have the look of a team who are capable of securing Champions League qualification for the second consecutive season.

Sunday's fixture against Southampton could prove pivotal in what is proving to be a hotly-contested race for Europe. Ronald Koeman's side currently sit three points and places ahead of Liverpool in the Premier League, but the visitors can trim that gap to just a single point with victory at St. Mary's on Sunday.

The latest headlines involving Balotelli, while not ones that should linger for too long, do raise further questions about the player's future. Although many hailed his £16m move from AC Milan to Merseyside as a bargain last summer, the 24-year-old has made just eight starts in the Premier League so far this season, scoring only once, and it remains uncertain if he will stay in Rodgers' plans beyond the end of the current campaign.