Brendan Rodgers is adamant that the signing of Mario Balotelli is not as big of a risk for Liverpool as some have suggested.
The Reds swooped to sign the Italy international from AC Milan in a £16m deal late on over the summer after allowing lasts season’s star man Luis Suarez to leave Anfield.
‘Super Mario’ has endured a turbulent career despite being only 24, with his off field antics having detracted from his impressive medal collection, which includes the FA Cup and Premier League with Manchester City as well as three Serie As, the Champions League and the Coppa Italia while at Inter Milan.
‘Balo’ made his debut for the Merseysiders before the international break in the 3-0 win at Spurs and is expected to lead the line for most of September following Daniel Sturridge’s injury, and Brendan Rodgers is confident that the forward will not let himself or the club down:
“It was a calculated risk, there’s no doubt about that,” he told talkSPORT. “The group we have here are very focussed and work very hard.
“I’ve worked with kids who have been written off most of my life as a coach though. Some of the best players have flaws and issues.
“I didn’t speak to many people about him because everyone will have an opinion on him. I don’t decide until I meet with someone and work with them. I’m not going to judge someone [until then].
“When I spoke to him I realised he is a very clever boy. His talent speaks for itself.
“He’s arrived here now at 24 years of age, wanting to show maturity in his life and his football. Since he’s been here he’s been absolutely fantastic.
“There’s no doubt it is a risk, because of his previous. I felt it was a risk worth taking though. For £16million, he’s a world class footballer and we’ll see how it goes.”
Top 50 Premier League appearances for Liverpool
Apps Player 508 499 318 285 266 240 234 231 216 214 214 208 192 191 175 170 162 156 155 150 148 145 143 139 137 Apps Player 135 133 130 128 127 127 121 115 110 107 102 100 94 93 92 91 91 90 88 87 85 77 76 75 75