Liverpool have splashed the cash already the summer, bringing in the likes of Javier Manquillo, Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno, Emre Can, Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic and Rickie Lambert, but manager Brendan Rodgers has been searching for a new world class striker to replace Luis Suarez.
Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani and Monaco's Radamel Falcao were both linked with moves to Merseyside, but a shock deal is poised for completion as former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli heads to Anfield to complete a £16m move from Milan.
The enigmatic striker is a controversial figure to say the least, but Rodgers has already got the best out of one 'villain' in Suarez, and will look to do the same with the often lethargic Balotelli - yet former Reds midfielder Jamie Redknapp believes that Rodgers is taking a huge gamble by bringing the Italian to the club.
"It’s amazing signing for Liverpool, though I can’t quite believe the club have gone down that route," Redknapp said. "It’s a huge gamble for Brendan Rodgers to make, a player like Balotelli could upset what he’s worked so hard to build at the club. With Luis Suárez, he was undoubtedly a genius and yes he was flawed, but he would always give 100 per cent on the pitch."
"My worry with Mario is that, while he has that genius in him, he sometimes just looks disinterested and you can’t be like that, especially at a club like Liverpool where the fans demand 100 per cent from every player every week," added the Sky Sports pundit. "He’s going to have to dig in, work extremely hard, and will have to win the fans over and show straight away that he’s willing to be a another member of their team. If he does that it will be brilliant for Liverpool, but if he doesn’t it will be a disaster."
Balotelli's fit in a high-pressing team like Liverpool is perplexing, but Rodgers clearly feels that he can get the most out of the 24-year-old, succeeding where others have failed. It may take some work and a few fractious situations, but Rodgers' work with Suarez suggests that he could have a great replacement for the Uruguayan.