Mario Balotelli’s £16M signing was always a massive gamble by Liverpool. While he remains a clearly talented player, he has struggled to consistently deliver on his promise at every step along the way in his career to date and always seemed a questionable fit for the way Liverpool wanted to play.
Some attempted to defend the move, claiming that even if Balotelli failed to work out at Liverpool, his talent and promise would remain bright enough that reselling him without taking a loss would be easy. That certainly doesn’t look to be the case now, as outside of a few mid-table Serie A sides sniffing around for a loan there has been little interest in the out of favour striker.
"Mario is obviously not on tour, but he’s working hard and training well with a number of other players at Melwood," said Brendan Rodgers from Kuala Lumpur when asked about the future of the former City man. Balotelli managed four goals in 28 appearances for Liverpool last year, with a per minute return of a goal roughly every 380 minutes.
That put him ahead of Rickie Lambert’s goal every 420 minutes, but it was far from good enough for a Liverpool side that struggled to find the back of the net on the way to a disappointing sixth-place finish. According to Brendan Rodgers, that also means he’s free to decide if he wants to leave or stay and fight for his place.
"I’m not sure," said Rodgers when pressed again on what the future might hold for Balotelli and whether he still has a role to play at Liverpool. "It will be entirely up to Mario, but he’s working hard to get fit and we will see what the season brings."