The Italy international has endured a difficult start life at Anfield after his summer move back to England from AC Milan, with only two goals to his name in the red shirt, neither in the Premier League, so far.
Balotelli has also been criticised for his inability to adapt to Brendan Rodgers’ high-tempo, pressing game plan, while his omission from the squad for the FA Cup clash with Bolton over the weekend fuelled speculation about his future.
Despite claims that he could be shipped back to his homeland, Raiola says that the 24-year-old must knuckle down and prove himself:
“Liverpool are different from other clubs,” he told La Gazetta dello Sport. “There, [because of Brendan Rodgers’ philosophy] they can’t allow themselves 10 players who run and a superstar [who doesn’t]. Mario is a player who changes a game for you in two or three moments, so they have to adapt to him and him to them.
“I saw him on Monday and said: ‘You’ve got a [long] contract and I’m not taking you away. Either you leave Liverpool for €60m or €70m and I win the bet or you die there’. It’s the first time that I’ve had such a conversation with a player. I saw that he was calm, changed, different with respect to at Milan. Very disappointed in himself too.
“He is going through times he’s never had before. Before everybody wanted him to do well. He had space. At Liverpool, no: either you do as we say or you stay out [of the team]. Then he was out injured for eight weeks. He lost rhythm.”
Balotelli has already played for the likes of Inter Milan, Manchester City and AC Milan in his career despite his youthful age.