Jamie Redknapp believes that Mario Balotelli will give Liverpool a completely “new dimension” as long as Brendan Rodgers can keep him grounded and focused.
The Reds are on the verge of tying up a £16m move for the Italian forward, who will join them from AC Milan after completing a medical at club’s training ground last night.
Although a talented player, Balotelli has earned the nickname ‘Mad Mario’ for his crazy off-field antics and sometimes questionable demeanour on the pitch.
Brendan Rodgers has himself spoken of “risk” and “reward” in relation to the 24-year-old, and Redknapp believes that if ‘Balo’ can be tamed he will give the Merseysiders the sort of presence up front the currently do not have:
“It’s amazing signing for Liverpool, though I can’t quite believe the club have gone down that route,” he told talkSPORT.
“It’s a huge gamble for Brendan Rodgers to make, a player like Balotelli could upset what he’s worked so hard to build at the club.
“Balotelli has so much ability. He can score free-kicks, crack in goals from 25 yards and will give Liverpool a completely new dimension, but he’s got to work hard.
“People have said he’s not the best trainer, even Adel Taraabt [who spent last season on loan at AC Milan] said ‘if you think I’m bad, you should see Balotelli’, and that’s very worrying.
“He’s got to hit the ground running and get his act together when he moves to Liverpool. Their team work ethic is amazing and if he doesn’t work as a hard as everyone else the Liverpool fans won’t suffer it.”