Mario Balotelli
Balotelli has been spoken to by Rodgers but it is unclear whether he has been fined.Getty Images/PAUL ELLIS

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has spoken with Mario Balotelli after he swapped shirts with Real Madrid defender Pepe at half-time during Wednesday's Champions League game, but has refused to confirm whether the Italian international has been reprimanded.

Rodgers said he would "deal" with Balotelli following the incident on Thursday with reports suggesting the 24-year-old would be fined after sparking outrage at Anfield.

Despite having discussed the episode with Balotelli, the Liverpool boss has not confirmed the extent of the punishment handed down to the player, but says the matter is "closed".

"Any action would be kept within ourselves," Rodgers said.

"[There was] a conversation on the coach or in this country and, in particular, Liverpool and that was it. Matter closed."

Balotelli's actions have accentuated his insipid run of form for Liverpool since joining from AC Milan in the summer, with the forward having scored just once in 10 appearances for his new club.

That run of form, coupled with the shirt swap on Wednesday night, has sparked suggestions – centrally among leading bookmakers – that Balotelli's days at Liverpool could be numbered.

However, while Rodgers accepts the speculation, he is ready to keep faith with the under-fire striker.

"I think there'll be that [speculation] - whether it's deserved or not, it's part of the game and you have to accept that," he added.

"The boy's genuinely trying very, very hard. Longer-term we'll see where that works out for him, but certainly he is working hard on the training field to improve his opportunities to play and score goals.

"As long as he's doing his best that is all I can ask as a manager. Whether that best is going to be good enough longer-term remains to be seen, but that's the same for every player.

"I think he's like every other player: he wants to score and obviously at this moment he's not. Hard work will improve your confidence, and when you're confident you have more success. It's as simple as that."