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Balotelli Staying…..For Now

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has come out in the media to quash any rumours that striker Mario Balotelli may be about to depart Anfield.

Mario Balotelli

Image: Express

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has come out in the media to quash any rumours that striker Mario Balotelli may be about to depart Anfield.

The 24-year-old has made only fleeting first-team appearances in recent weeks, including a substitute outing in the League Cup defeat by Chelsea after missing out on a place in the squad entirely for the FA Cup fourth round draw with Bolton. But Rodgers has claimed that he will be given chances to prove himself. What should we make of this? Is Rodgers really going to give Balotelli yet another chance or does he have another agenda?

Reputational Risk

In short, Rodgers has little choice but to stick with Balotelli and insist that he won’t sell. After all, it is only a matter of months since Balotelli was bought by the club for £16m and his performances so far this season will not have inflated his value. No club in their right mind would come close to offering Liverpool what they paid AC Milan for the former Manchester City man. Rodgers was well aware of what to expect when he bought Balotelli; masses of talent but a questionable work ethic and off-the-field attitude. Rodgers was warned by fans, former players and experts, like those at bluesq; if he were to sell him at a loss now he would be risking his reputation.

Little Choice

With Balotelli not having scored a Premier League goal yet this season, Daniel Sturridge cannot return soon enough for Liverpool. When he does return, which could be this weekend against West Ham, he will walk back in to the team and Balotelli will fall further down the pecking order. It is possible that this kind of snub could kick-start Balotelli’s season, convince him to work harder on and off the field, and see him back amongst the goals. Or it is equally possible that it may see him lose interest.

Either way, Rodgers would be no worse off. In truth, Rodgers has little choice but to stand by Balotelli for the time being….but don’t expect that loyalty to extend much beyond the end of the season, when I think we’ll see the controversial Italian make his Anfield exit.

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