Brendan Rodgers insists Mario Balotelli wants to remain at Liverpool and prove to his doubters that he can succeed in the Premier League.
The former Manchester City, who won a league title and an FA Cup during his time at the Etihad Stadium, returned to England in the summer when the Reds paid £16million to take him from Milan. However, the striker has failed to impress whilst on Merseyside, having scored just twice in 18 appearances, and it has been claimed he is keen to head back to Italy.
Roberto Mancini, who coached him at City and prior to that Internazionale, is back at the San Siro and has been linked with offering Balotelli a second stint with the Nerazzurri, whilst Juventus have also been credited with an interest. However, Rodgers insists Balotelli wants to stay at Anfield, although he admits the 24-year-old is not happy with the way his time at the club has gone so far.
“He does want to stay, I think that is the case with him,” he said. “He does care about doing well for Liverpool and wants to do well but it just hasn’t gone as he would have wanted. This is a club where you will get every opportunity to shine. This is a group that is very close-knit, the spirit is strong and you can work your way into that by working hard and you will get your rewards.”
Liverpool travel to the Midlands on Saturday afternoon to take on struggling Aston Villa, an opponent Balotelli has enjoying facing in the past. He scored twice in a 4-0 win for City in December 2010, and opened the scoring against the same side in a 4-1 triumph the following October; so this could be the match he has been waiting for to score his first league goal for the Reds.
Can Balotelli find his scoring boots and become a success at Liverpool? Let us know what you think by joining in with the discussion below.