Mario Balotelli was unimpressive against Aston Villa yesterday, as he struggled to get a grip of a game that raced away from the home side at Anfield.
The £16 million signing from AC Milan arrived at the club out of form. He started his Milan career on fire. After joining in January 2013 Balotelli scored 12 goals in his first 13 games for the Rossoneri and looked like being a winner at the San Siro.
But he struggled for form last term. He bagged 18 goals in 41 appearances for the club, not a bad return, but his overall play was widely criticised by the Italian media.
Now he has received criticism from his time in Italy from a fellow striker. Stefano Okaka is a 25-year-old forward who currently plays for Serie A outfit Sampdoria. The pair were team-mates for the Italian under-21 side so perhaps that is why Okaka felt he could pull no punches when discussing Balotelli's time in Italy.
He said to Gazzetta dello Sport, as translated by Football Italia:
“Is the fact Balotelli left Serie A for England a failure for our football? No, if anything he is the one who failed. Does he think great champions were never under pressure? When Ibrahimovic was in Italy, he scored 30 goals per season.
“He mustn’t keep looking to blame others. Mario is a great player, but if he had problems in Italy then half the responsibility is his.
“At times in life you need to stop and look inside yourself. The fact remains he is a great player and this new English experience might help him rediscover the hunger he once had.”
Now it is up to Balotelli to prove Okaka and the rest of the doubters wrong. He could start by banging in the goals at Liverpool.