Liverpool announced the signing of Mario Balotelli on Monday afternoon, but while Liverpool could have used him, it wasn't soon enough for him to face Manchester City. Balotelli won't be watching from the stands when Liverpool take on Tottenham on Sunday, though.
"I think by the weekend," said Brendan Rodgers when he was asked when the club's newest signing would be ready to play. "He's been into pre-season and he's played three 45-minute games. He might not be up to full match speed, but he's looking fit.
"We've done some analysis on him. The medical and sports science team have worked with him already and he's in very, very good condition. He's in to work and he'll be available for the squad for the weekend."
Available for the squad may not be the same thing as being able to start, but for many the hope will be that between Balotelli and Rickie Lambert, Liverpool will have enough striking options to go with two up top for the duration.
Last season, Rodgers went to two strikers out of necessity. It was a way to fit in both Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. More than 100 goals, a second-place finish in the league, and some of the most exciting football in all of Europe were the results.
Even without Suarez, Liverpool have looked better utilizing a similar approach this season. Against both Southampton and City, they looked at their best when bringing Lambert on in the second half to partner with Sturridge.
In both matches, the attack was far less effective when Rodgers sent out just Sturridge in the 4-3-3, the striker's tendency to wander from the tip of the attack blunting it. Against Spurs, with Balotelli and Lambert both available to partner Sturridge, hopefully it can start sharp.
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