Football

He scores, but why so glum?

GOAL: (Above) Balo's first league goal since his move to Liverpool. PHOTO: JASON CAIRNDUFF

CONGRATS: (Above) Sakho greets the nonsmiling hero. PHOTO: JASON CAIRNDUFF

POST-MATCH: (Above) A quiet exit. PHOTO: CARL RECINE/ACTIONIMAGES

NO SMILES: (Above) Important goal but no smiles, just a thumbs-up. PHOTO: CARL RECINE/ACTIONIMAGES

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli chose not to celebrate his first Premier League goal for the club.

The Italy international showed no emotion after converting Adam Lallana's cross for the winner seven minutes from time in the 3-2 victory over top-four rivals Tottenham.

Considering the importance of the goal - not only to the team but also to Balotelli himself who has been waiting since his £16 million ($33m) move from AC Milan - there was nothing in the way of celebration.

At the final whistle he headed off down the tunnel without shaking hands with team-mates or opponents or acknowledging the fans who still back him despite his disappointing campaign.

"He is immensely happy. To get a winner at Anfield, I am sure he is happy," said Reds assistant manager Colin Pascoe, standing in for Brendan Rodgers who had left to catch a flight to Europe to watch a game.

"Mario knew he would have a part to play and he certainly did. He always works hard in training and recently he has been ill and he has had some knocks on his foot where he couldn't get his boot on.

"It is testament to himself, he kept going and got his reward.

Whether Balotelli's action was the result of some issues that may have been brewing, only Pascoe knows.

To the thousands of fans who watched his reaction after scoring would have had a different view.

- Wire Services.

"We gave many balls away and easy balls. We gave Liverpool the ball and they played on the counter-attack. But we deserved more from this game"

- Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino