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Hull midfielder Huddlestone sticks up for Liverpool striker Balotelli

Hull City midfielder Tom Huddlestone has urged Liverpool to stand by Mario Balotelli.

Striker Balotelli has only scored one goal in 10 games since his £16m move from AC Milan.

The 24-year-old was also blasted after he swapped shirts with Real Madrid defender Pepe at half-time in Wednesday night's 3-0 defeat in the Champions League.

But midfielder Huddlestone believes Balotelli is being picked on.

The 27-year-old said: "I watched the game on Wednesday and you physically see Pepe ask him and to a fellow professional he's not going to say 'no no, because we're losing, I'm not going to swap shirts with you'.

"It puts him in a difficult position and I don't know what people expect him to do.

"I felt for him. It's not as if he sprinted after Pepe and asked for his shirt."

Huddlestone added: "The Premier League is missing one of its best players for the last 20 years. On his day, Balotelli can be, maybe not as good, but one of the best strikers in Europe."

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