Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has two months to prove his worth, or risks being sold. Manager Brendan Rodgers, who could not hide his disdain at the striker’s shirt swap with Pepe in the Uefa champions league loss against Madrid, accepts his £16m bargain on the Italian quite hasn’t worked out.
Balotelli’s return to England was a gamble by Rodgers
“We brought in the player to give him a chance and we will continue to do that,” Rodgers said. “He is working hard to try to fit into the team ethos here but only time will tell. We will see come January what the team needs.”
His shambolic display in the champions league stumble at Anfield saw him hauled after the first proceeding, but the player sparked more scrutiny by exchanging his jersey with an opponent while the players walked into the tunnel at Halftime, something that isn’t accepted in English football. Though the Reds boss is confident that the incident has been dealt with appropriately, and expects his summer acquisition to start firing.
Mario is not uncontrollable, he’s certainly not that,” he said. “I take responsibility for every player I bring in, the manager always will, so there is no problem for me and the issue is very clear with the owners.
“We knew what we were getting. I said before that it was a calculated risk to bring someone in and nothing has changed.
“I haven’t been overly surprised by many of the things that have happened. We took in a young player with football potential. He still has that potential, though whether we are going to get the focus and concentration that is required to play at the top level remains to be seen. At this moment in time he is working hard and we are still hopeful. We work every day on improving the players, and he is one of them.
“Of course he hasn’t yet scored the goals we would like or want but we need to keep giving him the opportunity. I am the type of manager who will give players an opportunity, even players whose confidence needs building back up or people who have been written off elsewhere. I understand the criticism that will come my way because of that; you accept it as part of being a manager.
“You’ll take the praise if things go well and you have to take the responsibility if they don’t. Either way I can deal with it.”
Word around Anfield suggests patience is running out, amid the intensity for top four berth in the English Premier League. The Merseyside outfit could be combing the January transfer for a new striker.
In a separate incident, Guardian Uk reports that Balotelli is set to undergo investigation by the Greater Manchester Police. The 24-year old is said to have harassed a woman who was taking pictures of his Ferrari on Thursday around lunchtime.