Balotelli to be dropped v West Brom, replacement already picked - report

Liverpool are set to rest Mario Balotelli in favour of Rickie Lambert, according to a report in the Liverpool Echo.

Liverpool are set to drop Mario Balotelli for the weekend fixture against West Bromwich Albion, with Rickie Lambert to be given his first start for the club, according to a report in the Liverpool Echo.

Brendan Rodgers has finally lost patience in Balotelli after a string of below par performances since his move for £16 million from AC Milan this summer.

The Italian front-man has scored just once since arriving at Anfield - in the Champions League against Ludogorets - and he has looked well off the pace required to fit in.

It means that Lambert will be chosen ahead of him on Saturday, as the Reds look to rediscover some of the attacking form which made them such a threat last season.

With Luis Suarez in their team, Rodgers's side had offensive options in all areas, but this campaign they have struggled to pose a threat to opposition defences.

They have already slipped to three Premier League defeats, as a result, and there are fears that retaining their top-four place may be a stretch too far for their current crop.

Balotelli was brought in to be the man to add the missing firepower, but he hasn't shown the form required so far.

That hasn't been helped by an injury to Daniel Sturridge, the man he was expected to partner up-front, during the previous international break, but there were still hopes he would have had more of an impact than he has so far.

A drop to the bench may be what he needs, given the increasing scrutiny of his performances, and it proves Lambert with a big opportunity.

The target-man has played a backseat role since arriving at Anfield from Southampton this summer, but he has a chance to prove that he is good enough to be a regular starter tomorrow and he will determined to take it.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch