Mario Balotelli’s performances are frustrating teammates
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Mario Balotelli’s slow start to life with Premier League club Liverpool is already starting to frustrate his teammates and manager. It comes after the Italian was dropped from the team for Liverpool’s Premier League game against West Brom on the weekend, with Rickie Lambert replacing him up front.
Suggestions were that Balotelli had been dropped following a dire performance in the Champions League against Basel in midweek. He didn’t manage a single touch in the opponent’s penalty area and his overall level of play was apparently not to the level expected of him. Often his approach is criticized for being selfish and this is being noticed by other Liverpool players.
“He is not hitting the numbers he would have liked in terms of goals,” Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers said of Balotelli in a press conference.
Rodgers is not subtle in his analysis of Balotelli’s start for Liverpool. Having signed for £16 million for AC Milan, it was no doubt always a gamble to bring in the unpredictable Italian. However, with Balotelli he is often scoring goals on the pitch irrelevant of his antics off it.
With Liverpool this has so far not been the case. He has scored one goal in the Champions League and has drawn a blank so far in five Premier League appearances. His overall contribution and link up play has also been criticized and he will have to improve significantly if he is to earn the trust of his manager and teammates.
When asked about the signing, Liverpool manager Rodgers was not as supportive of the decision as you would imagine:
“It was a question of availability and affordability at a late stage in the window,” Rodgers said.
It is hardly a quote that shows Balotelli was wanted at the club. Clearly Liverpool needed a new striker to replace the departing Luis Suarez, but perhaps Balotelli was not the player that Rodgers wanted. Loic Remy, now at Chelsea, looked set to complete a move to Liverpool before a medical found a heart condition in the French striker.
Rickie Lambert was also brought in as an attacking option, but is not 30 goals a season man that Liverpool need. Balotelli could yet turn around his Liverpool career and you would hope his gets the backing of his manager first of all.
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