Balotelli and Gerrard
Steven Gerrard has criticised teammate Balotelli for breaking the team code and taking the penalty ahead of HendersonGetty

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has criticised Mario Balotelli for going against the rules and taking the penalty ahead of Jordan Henderson during Liverpool's 1-0 win over Besiktas in the Europa League.

The Italian striker upset his teammates when he insisted on taking the penalty despite stand-in skipper Henderson was the designated penalty taker in the absence of Gerrard.

The former Manchester City striker went on to dispatch the spot kick and give the Merseyside club a much needed first-leg lead in their last-32 clash against the Turkish outfit.

The former Three Lions skipper, who is leaving Anfield at the end of the current campaign was disappointed with the Italian for breaking the "team code" and disrespecting the stand-in skipper. And Gerrard believes that the striker could have faced a backlash if he had missed.

"Mario's been a bit mischievous and gone against team codes. If he missed it could've been like Everton. Rules are rules and they should've been adhered to," Gerrard said, as quoted by the Mirror.

"Jordan is the captain and Mario showed Jordan a bit of disrespect there, but he's scored a very important goal."

"I think six or seven players would have wanted to take that penalty so if they all say they are taking it, what happens then? Rules are in place for a reason," the English midfielder explained.

However, Balotelli has played down the incident, as he believes that the most important thing is that Liverpool won the game. He also thanked Henderson for letting him take the penalty.

"Thank you hendo for let me take the penalty.. Stop drama now. We won that's what it count. We are a team and especially we are Liverpool. Come on guys," Balotelli wrote on his Instagram account.