Paolo Maldini comments on Liverpool star's performance level

Mario Balotelli Italy

Legendary AC Milan and Italy defender believes Liverpool's £16 million signing still has much potential to realise.

Mario Balotelli's current form is a contrast in nature to his productivity and effectiveness in attack at various points in his AC Milan career.

When the Italian first joined the Serie A giants, he returned 12 goals from 77 shots in 12 starts, however, to date, Balotelli has netted just once despite making seven appearances in combined Premier League and Champions League competition and has attempted 32 shots on goal.

One goal in 32 strikes is not a ratio that befits an elite-level striker, but Liverpool fans who are concerned over the player's form should fear not, as legendary AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini believes the 24-year-old is still at a developmental stage in his playing career and so it stands to logic that he will continue to improve.

"His life is in his hands," Maldini is quoted by Football Italia to have said. "But it cannot be said that his growth is yet completed."

Balotelli was notably omitted from Italy coach Antonio Conte's latest Azurri squad as AS Roma stud Mattia Destro, Borussia Dortmund striker Ciro Immobile, Internazionale forward Pablo Osvaldo and also Graziano Pelle of Southampton were all deemed preferable options for the upcoming European Championship qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Malta.

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