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Liverpool players intimidated referee to have Mario Balotelli sent off, says Manchester City's Roberto Mancini No worries: Roberto Mancini has come to the defence of Mario Balotelli after his red card Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The Italian striker was dismissed after receiving a second yellow card for a challenge on Martin Skrtel in the 1-1 Premier League draw at Anfield.

Manchester City denied claims the youngster damaged the door of the away dressing room when he left the stadium in anger.

Mancini defended the conduct of the 21 year-old. “My impression is the referee gave a free kick and didn’t want to give the yellow card, but he did after all the Liverpool players went there,” he said.

“I’m disappointed with him [Balotelli] for the first yellow card but not for the second. I have said many times Mario can do everything. We can’t change him in one month and today he didn’t deserve it. The last three months he has played well and scored goals. He is an important player for us.

“He was unhappy with the red card. If he damaged a door he will pay.

Like he did with his house. It is a good result because in the last 10 minutes we played with 10 and it is difficult here.”

City moved to confirm there was no damage to the door, but Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish rejected claims his players were to blame for the dismissal. “Balotelli got himself sent off,” he said.

“Sometimes you get yourself sent off. Sometimes you look in the mirror you get the answer. Sometimes he doesn’t help himself and others, and then maybe he doesn’t get the leeway, but I don’t think any of our boys influence the referee in any way, shape or form.”

Liverpool’s draw was their fourth in five home games, but Dalglish said: “I couldn’t have asked for much more in terms of commitment and how we went about the job.

“They scored and we had a bit of fortune but then our luck ran out.

“Three or four goalkeepers have had a fantastic game here and eventually we hope we will come up against one who won’t play like that.

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