Losing Luis Suarez was always going to dull Liverpool's attack, but five months on from his departure, Liverpool have yet to find any sort of consistent production in his absence. Daniel Sturridge looked good the first few weeks of the season but has been hurt ever since, Rickie Lambert can work to positive effect in bursts but wasn't meant to be the day-in, day-out option, and Fabio Borini has been frozen out with a likely exit in the January window.
There's also Mario Balotelli, who was brought in despite Brendan Rodgers' assertions that the club "unequivocally" wouldn't be pursuing him. They obviously decided otherwise, but according to Rodgers, it isn't a decision he looks back on with much fondness:
"I think as a club we felt that was the solution at the time. In the summer, we had Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini was looking as though 100% he was gone. Obviously Daniel (Sturridge) has shown in his career so far that he gets injuries. So it would be unfair to leave Rickie Lambert, a 32-year-old, as the only striker we had.
"I felt this (Balotelli) was a risk we needed to take and as a group we couldn't afford not to at the time. It was obviously late on and we need to have someone in. It's something that we can't regret. I made it clear at the beginning it was a calculated one and that is why he probably cost the money that he did."
It's nothing new from the manager, who's made similar comments over the course of the last few month, but to repeat them again isn't exactly a ringing endorsement, and it seems to further the notion that Balotelli might not be long for Liverpool. Or at least in Rodgers' ideal world, the club would have brought in someone other than Balotelli, which, fair enough, but it's probably not best for the player if the manager is publicly discussing how he's stuck with you. If you're Balotelli, this isn't the type of sentiment that would engender much loyalty or warm feelings toward the manager or the club--Rodgers has taken a similar tone when talking about the striker before, and he's doubling down here with comments that are anything but positive.
If and when Balotelli does return for Liverpool, it will be interesting to see how he's used by a manager who's now very vocal about not wanting him. Less than tactful from Rodgers, who's prided himself on being savvy in the media, and he now has one striker in California, one he refuses to name in the matchday squad, one who's 32 years old and running out of gas, and one who he only signed because he felt he had to.