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Rodgers: Struggling Balotelli Staying Put

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Brendan Rodgers says he has no plans to offload the Italian international in the January transfer window.

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Mario Balotelli is no longer injured and doesn't have the FA's leniency ban to contend with either. Liverpool are short on strikers that can score goals and have been using Raheem Sterling in the nine-and-a-half position that Rodgers spoke so proudly of when describing his strikers last season. The 2014 European Golden Boy missed numerous chances against Manchester United with David de Gea continuing his majestic form for Liverpool's fierce rivals.

Since then, Rodgers' decision has been vindicated by goals and impressive movement from the 20-year-old. With Sterling's movement central to Liverpool's improvement and Daniel Sturridge set to return next month, will Rodgers move Balotelli out of Anfield as quickly as Rafa Benítez got rid of Robbie Keane?

If Brendan Rodgers' words aren't designed to mask clandestine schemes to rid himself of Balotelli, Liverpool fans can expect the Italian to last the season. "It's not something that I have even thought about to be honest," Rodgers said on the possibility of Balotelli leaving in January. "We've had a lot of games this season in a lot of competitions. At this moment in time the key for me is trying to keep the squad together."

What is interesting is the praise Rodgers has rightly given to Sterling for the pace and movement he brings to the side up front that enables the team to "function well" that contrasts with comments on the type of game Balotelli isn't suited for. When a manager speaks of one of his attacking players being incompatible for the type of game that includes buzzwords for all that he holds dear in attack, it may be fair to assume that a long-term future at the club won't feature in any horoscopes, fortune cookies, or Tarot card readings for the player in question.

"I think we’ve seen it’s not really his game," Rodgers told Sky Sports News. "Working with Mario, we see someone who is better around the box. That level of intensity and pressing isn’t part of his game but you try and get the best out of the players you have and the qualities that you have. "So that’s something that we will focus on, but the most important thing is that he’s available after his ban. It adds another player to our squad and another player who is available, especially with Fabio Borini unavailable."

Brendan Rodgers is all about intensity and pressing in attack so this doesn't sound like an endorsement of any kind, In fact, it sounds like an admission that he may have the wrong player for the style he wants to play but it's great that another striker is available to provide depth on the bench as the important Fabio Borini is unavailable after practising running around a lot before getting sent off against Arsenal. Borini will need to do that for his new club in January, the running around bit not the sending off.

As for Mario Balotelli, the man without a league goal, the cluttered festive period offers him a chance to be involved and score some goals. Brendan Rodgers hasn't said anything that's necessarily untrue or unfair, and maybe will have a firm idea of how to utilise Balotelli's talents when the Italian returns to action against Swansea City or Leicester CityRickie Lambert, Fabio Borini, and Mario Balotelli offer alternatives to Raheem Sterling over the next few games to protect the talented youngster from exhaustion.