It’s fair to say that Mario Balotelli has endured a very disappointing start to his Liverpool career. In 12 Premier League games so far this season, the Italian has managed no goals and no assists, he has also created a mere five chances in the 762 minutes he has played in the league.
The Italian has struggled immensely since he joined Brendan Rodgers’ side from AC Milan in the summer. He was part of the striker influx that was designed to replace the prolific Luis Suarez but unfortunately for Rodgers and Liverpool, Balotelli has failed to deliver not only goals but any real sign of effort whatsoever.
He came on against Chelsea in the Capital One Cup Semi-Final earlier this week and produced very little apart from an effort that soared over the bar. He was also marking Branislav Ivanovic in the box for the goal, allowing the Serb to convert his free header with virtually no challenge from the striker.
At times in Balotelli’s career, he has often looked a dejected figure when things are not going his way. His career at Liverpool has revealed this side of the Italian in an unwelcomed abundance; the striker has shown very little of what he can actually do and is not the type of player to really put the effort in when things are not going his way.
The former Inter Milan, Manchester City and AC Milan striker certainly has the ability in his locker. Last season he scored 14 goals in 30 games and also provided six assists. The season before that, Balotelli joined AC Milan from Manchester City in the January transfer window. He went on a very impressive run of form, scoring 12 goals in 13 games for the Rossoneri and he looked like he was finally going to fill the potential that had once made him one of the best young prospects in European football.
It seems that in order for Balotelli to thrive, he needs to be the main man, the ‘why always me?’ kind of guy who is the face of the team. At AC Milan he was certainly this type of player, the team almost revolved around him, waiting for him to produce the spectacular. Now, at Liverpool, he simply doesn’t have the same effect.
Luis Suarez not only scored a lot of goals, he worked his socks off for Liverpool and chased down everything. Realistically, Brendan Rodgers has signed a player that is not even remotely like the Uruguayan. However, his nonchalant attitude has always been well documented and despite this he could still provide some goals. Liverpool are seeing the darkest side of Mario Balotelli and it shows no signs of improving any time soon as the goals have dried up but the attitude remains.
Liverpool fans will be hoping that Balotelli eventually delivers for the club this season. There is still time for Brendan Rodgers to sign a new striker in the winter window but he will want to see more from a striker he paid £16million for in the summer. The return of Daniel Sturrdige is good news for the club and Mario Balotelli, as it almost offers the Italian a fresh start, an opportunity to impress alongside Sturridge and form a successful attacking partnership.
There is no doubt that Balotelli is still more than capable of producing the sublime, he just needs to fully focus and put the hard work in for both himself and Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers has a very tough job on his hands in terms of handling the striker but one lucky break could lead to Super Mario gathering form and goals at the same time.
Although there are no guarantees of this, Liverpool should not give up on their troublesome striker just yet but there is no doubt that patience must be running thin.