Rodgers comments on Sturridge, Balotelli and diamond tactics

Daniel Sturridge Liverpool

The imminent arrival of Mario Balotelli was discussed with Daniel Sturridge ahead of the Italian's transfer, according to Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.

Liverpool's gross transfer spending for the summer window is set to surpass the £100 million mark and even reach upwards of £115 million this week, as the transfer of Mario Balotelli from AC Milan is set to be imminently concluded.

However, before any discussions with the Italian took place, it appears that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers discussed the possible arrival with primary striker Daniel Sturridge in order to remind the Englishman of his importance to the Reds.

With the inevitable exit of Luis Suarez amid fervent interest from Barcelona and yet another bite scandal during the World Cup, Liverpool adopted an aggressive recruitment policy that saw them acquire stars as varied as Emre Can, Lazar Markovic, Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert, who was obviously drafted in to provide cover for Sturridge in case of injury, suspension or fatigue.

The addition of Balotelli at Anfield, though, will no doubt be one for the first-team rather than one for the squad, with the former Manchester City star likely to be deployed alongside Sturridge, much like Suarez was last season.

Commenting on the £17.5 million deal, Rodgers was quoted by the Daily Mail to have said: "I have spoken to Daniel and just said how important he is to the team. The confidence I have in him has been shown in his performances and goals — 36 in 50. You are not doing that if you are not happy; happy with your life, happy with your football.

"I have said repeatedly that Daniel is a top talent, but we need to have more than one top talent in here. He is a big player for us and that will remain. Dynamics are important, but I don’t worry because if you are a top player with a top mind then you want other top players.

"If you are a top player and you are looking at another top player coming in then you will be thinking: “He can help us”. If you are a top player with a top mentality then you respond to the competition."

Another reason for the Balotelli import is so that Rodgers can have greater tactical flexibility on a game-to-game basis and also an in-game basis.

"We can play a diamond [with two strikers]," said Rodgers. "We played that eight times last year and won seven and we flipped to that last weekend [against Southampton]. We can change systems and I need that flexibility.

"Also, if you look at Daniel’s injury record then he has missed a number of weeks through being injured. I need to ensure I have got the replacements if they are not on the pitch at the same time."

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