Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville believes that Liverpool signed the wrong type of striker to replace Luis Suarez in the summer transfer window.
The Italy international striker came at a bargain price of £16 million, while Suarez was sold for a reported £75m - but Neville claims that it was the wrong signing.
‘Losing Suarez cost them both quality and spirit’, the ex-England international wrote in The Telegraph. ‘No single player should ever have the club hanging by a thread.
‘Man Utd lost talismanic players but never to the point where the competitive basis dropped below title-winning or Champions League level.
‘There was a greater degree of quality throughout the squad. If you think of the type of player Suarez was for them, Liverpool needed a Carlos Tevez or an Alexis Sánchez. Instead they signed the polar opposite in Mario Balotelli’.
It would be pertinent to note that Neville is not saying that Liverpool should have signed Carlos Tevez from Juventus or Alexis Sanchez (now at Arsenal) from Barcelona; what he means is that Liverpool should have signed a forward like them.
What Suarez gave last season was much more than goals; his mobility, dribbling skills and ability to bring his teammates into play are traits that Balotelli does not have.
Balotelli has struggled for Liverpool so far this season, but perhaps with Daniel Sturridge’s imminent return from injury, the former Manchester City star could be able to raise his game.