Liverpool's Mario Balotelli Held Back By Fans During Match To Prevent Fight

Most of the time, fans who interject themselves into games are not well-received. But Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has fans who have his back -- or more literally, hold him back -- when it comes to team scuffles.

During the club's home match against Manchester United on Sunday, a couple of Liverpool fans restrained the star soccer player after a particularly tense clash with Manchester United's Chris Smalling.

The fans told Liverpool Echo afterwards that since Balotelli already had a yellow card, they were worried he would be sent off as he seemed ready to react.

"I was saying 'calm down, leave it, leave it' and he was saying 'OK, OK," said Shaun Letherbrow, one of the fans who held Balotelli back. Letherbrow was aided by friends that included a police officer who sometimes works at Anfield, Liverpool's soccer stadium.

Unfortunately for Balotelli, he and the Reds lost to United, 1-2. Balotelli nevertheless thanked the fans in a Facebook post afterwards.

Smalling wasn't the only person Balotelli had his sights on on Sunday. While arriving to the pitch, the Italian flipped the bird to Manchester fans who were chanting at the player calling him a "City reject," "waste of money" and a "wanker."