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Balotelli Fit to Face Burnley but Unlikely to Start

Updating Liverpool’s injury situation finds Mario Balotelli full fit and ready to return, but Brendan Rodgers doesn’t see him as a great fit for how Liverpool have set up in recent games.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Having faced more than their share of injury concerns over a difficult first half to the season, Liverpool approach the mid-way point hopeful for a better second half as their injured regulars begin to return to action. There isn't a lot of good news on the injury front ahead of Burnley, though, as Joe Allen, Glen Johnson, Jon Flanagan, and Dejan Lovren remain out.

Daniel Sturridge, too, is still on the injury list as the striker targets a January return, though in attack there is at least one player likely to return against Burnley as Mario Balotelli has been declared fully fit following a lingering groin injury suffered while on Italy duty. Balotelli sat out the Arsenal match due to suspension, though if he hadn't been, injury might still have kept him on the sidelines.

"Mario becomes available but there's nobody else," said Brendan Rodgers earlier today when asked about the injury situation. "Joe Allen, Glen Johnson, Jon Flanagan-they're still out. But the most important thing is Mario is available after his ban. It adds another player to our squad and another player who is available, especially considering that Fabio Borini won't be available."

Available, though, may be a long way from it being likely that Balotelli will start. Having struggled for much of the season, Liverpool have begun to look better over the past week playing a 3-6-1 formation that overloads the midfield with players comfortable playing a pressing and possession game. And to hear Rodgers say it, whatever Balotelli might be, he isn't a pressing and possession player.

"We've seen that isn't really in his game," said the manager when asked how the Italian striker might fit into Liverpool's current approach. "Working with Mario we see someone who is better in and around the penalty area, and that kind of pressing, that kind of intensity, it just isn't part of his game. But you try to get the best out of the players that you have and work with their talents."

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