So, it is more or less inevitable that the Italian maverick that is Mario Balotelli is making a sensational return to the Premier League with Liverpool. Now there has been lots of talk in the press about whether or not Balotelli is worth the risk. For me however, the move is a no brainer. Liverpool clearly need a striker after the departure of Luis Suarez and for just £16M the move represents a bargain for Liverpool.
There is no doubt that Balotelli has talent and I admit in recent times his talent has been overshadowed by his less than impressive behaviour. It has been well documented that Balotelli has a fondness for pyrotechnics as well as the fact he regularly finds ways to upset his managers as Messer’s Mourinho and Mancini will contest to. However, if reports are to be believed Liverpool have included good behaviour clauses in his contract meaning Rodgers has been given reassurances that Balotelli has cleaned up his act as much as he possibly can.
It isn’t the first time Rodgers has had to deal with players with so called ‘attitude’ problems. When Daniel Sturridge first joined the club he came with a reputation of being greedy and having an attitude problem however Rodgers put an arm round him and used his great man management skills and turned Sturridge into a 20 goal a season striker. Raheem Sterling also was considered to have an attitude problem in the early days of his Liverpool career. The infamous video of Sterling back chatting Rodgers on a pre-season tour to Boston in 2012 is testament to that but, once again Rodgers has transformed him into a England international who can only get better.
People will of course point to the fact that Luis Suarez still has cannibalistic tendencies despite being under Rodgers mentorship but on the whole Suarez spent was actually quite well behaved last season and the biting incident happened on international duty with Uruguay. Therefore I am convinced that with the help of Rodgers and of course sports psychologist Steve Peters we will see more of the good side of Mario opposed to the player we saw getting regularly sent off for Manchester City.
If Balotelli does come good then it is very much a game changer in terms of the title race. There is no doubting Balotelli is a stellar striker and one of the best in Europe on his day and definitely strengthens Liverpool’s squad. If he forms a positive partnership with Sturridge up front and then considering the strength in depth Liverpool now have attacking wise, with the likes of Sterling, Coutinho, Lallana and Markovic there is no reason why Liverpool shouldn’t be competing for both domestic and European offers again.