Liverpool legend pinpoints the reason for Balotelli's struggles

Liverpool legend and now-Sky Sports pundit Phil Thompson believes he knows why Mario Balotelli has struggled in front of goal in recent weeks.

Liverpool legend Phil Thompson believes Mario Balotelli’s struggles so far are down to the team’s setup.

Balotelli, 24, has scored just one goal in seven games since a £16 million summer move from AC Milan, failing to impress when leading the line in Daniel Sturridge’s absence.

 2014-15 Premier League GoalsTotal ShotShot AccBig Chance Missed AssistsKey PassTotal PassPass AccAppsMins
Mario Balotelli 0 20 25% 3 0 3 74 74.32% 4 310

The polarising forward has squandered a number of chances over the past two matches against Everton and FC Basel, but Thompson insists that manager Brendan Rodgers would see better production out of him if he switched to a two-striker formation.

‘I think it’s the fact he’s up front on his own. You know what you’re getting with Mario, and I think his work ethic is good,’ he told Sky Sports News HQ.

‘He did work quite hard last night [against Basel], but it’s just not quite coming together.

‘The players were all too wide. Brendan was playing a 4-3-3 formation – he’s got Sterling wide and Markovic wide, and no one alongside him.

‘With Mario, he likes things with his back to goal, so what they need is to go back to the very first game that he played against Spurs when they had Daniel Sturridge playing off him and making those runs in behind people – that helps Mario.

‘He likes to flick the ball round people and that is how he plays,’ he continued. ‘So, for me, I would get someone up there to play with him – go back to your best formation, which is the diamond midfield with two up top.

‘Give Balotelli a little bit more help alongside him and I think you’ll see a lot more from him.’

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