Liverpool produced one of the biggest shocks of the Transfer Window when they snapped up Mario Baloelli from AC Milan in a £16 million deal this summer. The Italian international has been brought in as the replacement for Luis Suarez, who moved to Barcelona after the World Cup biting scandal.
Liverpool are obviously very pleased with the move, but one man who is not is Italy national team coach Antonio Conte. The former Juventus manager took over from Cesare Prandelli this summer, and has expressed concerns over Balotelli playing in, and more importantly living in, England.
With Balotelli suspended for the Azzurri's World Cup qualifier with Norway in Tuesday night Conte did not call him up to the national team for the tie in Oslo or the friendly with the Netherlands.
Instead he picked Sassuolo striker Simone Zaza, who he then handed a debut against the Dutch last night. He started Zaza up top with Borussia Dortmund summer signing Ciro immobile, and it is fair to say the two clicked.
Immobile opened the scoring whilst Zaza won the penalty for Italy's second in a 2-0 victory against Guus Hiddink's men in Bari.
And quotes from Conte after the game will not fill the £16 million Liverpool newbie with much optimism for an immediate recall in October:
"There is a mix of experienced players and youngsters that can eventually become important players. I believe this team can go far. I am not surprised by the synergy between the two (starting) strikers. I thought Mattia Destro and Sebastian Giovinco also worked well together."
Not only was he full of praise for his starters, but also the men who came on in attacking positions, suggesting he is currently happy with his striking department.
Balotelli certainly faces a fight getting back into the Italy team this season.