Why £25 million striker is not the man to replace Suarez

Reports in Italy suggest Liverpool are lining up Mario Balotelli as a potential Luis Suarez replacement.

According to reports, Mario Balotelli is keen on a return to the Premier League and Brendan Rodgers is reportedly keen to enter the race for his signature, with Arsenal already keen on bringing the Italian to these shores.

However, Balotelli is not the answer.

  TeamGoalsAssistsBig Chances CreatedDribbles WonSuccessful Final-Third PassesAppsMins
Luis Suarez Liverpool 31 12 22 93 503 33 2,964

As Opta stats show, Liverpool had more than a striker in Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan's impact was clear for all to see as he scooped award after award for last season's form, registering 12 assists as well as scoring 31 goals in the Premier League.

Suarez also created 22 big chances and won an astounding 93 dribbles, completing 503 final-third passes in the process.

In 23-year-old Balotelli, Liverpool won't have a replacement for the type of player Suarez is. The Italian is an out-and-out striker, who with 14 goals and six assists to his name in Serie A last season has talent, ability and goals at his disposal.

But Balotelli is not the kind of forward who will take the game by the scruff of the neck, chase the ball and work tirelessly to create opportunities for his team-mates. The AC Milan man is a no. 9, as he proved in Italy for the World Cup this year. No service means no goals.

That wouldn't be an issue if Rodgers was planning to change up Liverpool's system and use Balotelli as exactly what he is; an out-an-out striker.

But why would he, when Liverpool already have Daniel Sturridge? Sturridge scored 21 goals and made seven assists last term. And that's not to mention the fact that Rodgers has already brought in Rickie Lambert, with Fabio Borini now looking as though he will stay as Anfield.

A straight up striker like Balotelli would not add much, especially as he is likely to cost the Reds at least £25 million, with Arsenal having reportedly bid that much in June.

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