After his £15m move last summer, the Italian striker has found it really difficult to settle in at Liverpool. Balotelli has played for Liverpool 28 times and netted the ball just four times at his new club, which begs the question: Where is it going wrong?
Mario Balotelli’s role is a box player at the least. He has no movement or pace, which is a big problem when it comes to enhancing Liverpool’s attacking threat.
Liverpool have always played the lone striker role, but Balotelli is the type of player who better suits playing with another striker besides him.
Ability and talent
Whatever is said about Balotelli, it doesn’t change the fact that the lad has a lot of abilities in his game. He is known for long-range shooting and on a few occasions the have actually paid off. Very reliable from free-kicks and penalties, so a valuable asset if you need someone to score a penalty to win your team the three points.
He is well known as a poacher, being in the box at right time, which is important because Balotelli positions himself to latch on to any loose balls.
Also Brendan Rodger’s style of play includes the striker putting in a shift to help retrieve the ball back from the opponents with high pressing tactics. Placing Mario Balotelli in this role would be the worst mistake made because he isn’t the sort of player that lunges after every ball; not his style of play.
Luis Suarez worked his socks off, whenever the team lost the ball he would be the first person to try getting the ball back. He was a defender’s nightmare never letting them feel comfortable with the ball even for a few moments.
He was always hunting them down, which helped force the opposition to clear the ball away and under Liverpool’s possession once more.
Possible change in philosophy
Brendan Rodgers made his philosophy work with Suarez, but it doesn’t mean it will work with Balotelli. So either Brendan makes a change by signing a new striker or he decides to alter his style of play.
If the Liverpool manager wants to get the best out of Balotelli he has to completely work on building a team around him. Many would say this will never work, but this actually paid off whilst Balotelli played at AC Milan under Massimo Allegri.
He was at the Italian club for 18 months, played 54 matches and netted the ball on 30 occasions, which shows he had a decent period at AC Milan. But to break things down: half of his goals came from free-kicks and penalties. Nothing wrong with that; a goal is a goal whether it’s a 30 yard screamer or a penalty-kick.
Nowadays, a striker is rated on goals vs appearances stat and nothing else matters.
At the end of the day, the name Mario Balotelli will always be known more than what the player did in the game.
Written by Asif Norat
Follow Asif on Twitter @FutbolAsif
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