Mario Balotelli is a top international striker capable of winning any game on his day. But on most other days the only thing worse than his performance is his probable new haircut. And Liverpool fans are seeing more of the latter from their £16m new-boy and one of the more colourful characters in the game, in the early days of his Merseyside career.
Having scored just once in 11 appearances for an underwhelming Liverpool side this season, it is clear that something isn’t quite working, and in order to regain a grip on their form, Liverpool must get the best out of their new front man, who has the the added responsibility of filling the void left by fellow headline maker, Luis Suarez, who moved on to Barcelona.
The first issue is that ‘Super Mario’ has not adjusted to Brendan Rogers’ possession style of play and is for large periods of games, nothing more than a passenger. The successful strikers in more recent times for Liverpool such as Fernando Torres, the previously mentioned Suarez and the currently sidelined Daniel Sturridge, have been high energy forwards capable of creating openings for themselves. This made them effective focal points in an ever changing Liverpool system. In contrast, Balotelli relies on others for service, which has not always been a strong point for his side this season. As a result, there are limited opportunities for him to showcase his ability in front of goal, and when chances have arisen, he has simply failed to impress.
He’s had his fair share of opportunities in the starting XI and was preferred to fellow new signing, Rickie Lambert for the majority of this season. Yet in recent games, has lost place to the former Saints man. Lambert, like Balotelli is also adjusting to Anfield life, leaving the 5-time European champions lurking in the bottom half of the Premier League table and desperately short of the attacking flair they played with during the previous campaign. With Daniel Sturridge out through injury yet again, Fabio Borini not fancied by Rogers and Divok Origi on loan at Ligue 1 side Lille, there is some promise for the club to develop a formidable strikeforce in the future. But for now, the stage is set for big summer signing to lead the line for Liverpool in an attempt to revive their season.
Balotelli’s off-field antics may also play a significant part in why he has only shown glimpses of what he is capable of thus far. It seems that not a week passes without seeing a more often than not, barrage of controversial Balotelli-themed headlines dominating the morning sports pages. And as a player who relies on confidence to perform, staying out of the public eye could significantly improve his concentration on the pitch which in turn, could make him a different player altogether. One that we know is capable of great things.
If or when Balotelli adapts to Liverpool’s way and develops a partnership with Sturridge, goals will surely return to his game, and with the goals, levels of performances, confidence and consistency will increase, as proven in bursts at previous clubs, Manchester City and AC Milan. As for his off-field behavior, we will never know other than what is reported about Mario’s attitude and commitment to the game, but once it all clicks, who is to say Mario Balotelli cannot etch his name into Liverpool’s very long and famous history? Would be nice touch, surely.
The last time Leicester won a Premier League game, Mario Balotelli was still considered to be a good signing.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) December 2, 2014
“@Trial_N_Era: Balotelli is racist = Salary Deduction. Malky is Racist = New Job and raise.” It’s laughable tbh.
— Mr (@MrMeeds) December 2, 2014
(Balotelli offends a few people) maybe this will get him to grow up…He could be better than Yaya
— RAWK Meltdown (@RAWK_Meltdown) December 3, 2014
On current form. Lambert > Balotelli. pic.twitter.com/6e2l7Vglj3
— Toño Martínez Romo (@TonhoMartinez15) December 2, 2014
— ….’Bout Drinks (@er_rays) December 2, 2014
Mario Balotelli just can’t help himself. At least Luis Suarez offered #LFC goals as some form of recompense for his disciplinary problems
— Richard Buxton (@RichardBuxton_) December 2, 2014
— Tigress ♡♥ (@Falcaogirl_) November 29, 2014
Ati they went too far away searching for a Suarez replacement in the form of Balotelli forgetting Glen had it covered.
— Lion_EL (@muchezSz) November 29, 2014
Mario Balotelli is struggling to find his form at Liverpool because he is missing his daughter, claims his agent Mino Raiola.
— Howard burtonwood (@HBurtonwood) November 27, 2014
@Fahiima_x LOL dw u have Balotelli. When Balotelli is in form there is no messing..
— Nazim (@NazimRahman1) November 26, 2014
Great play by Lambert in build-up; outlining his technical ability. Playing his way above Balotelli in the form (not favour) stakes. #LFC
— Jack Lusby (@LusbyLatest) November 26, 2014
Says something about balotelli when lambert is on form