Balotelli’s injury another serious blow for his Liverpool acclimatisation

Balotelli Milan

Any hope of the Italian partnering Daniel Sturridge against Crystal Palace is looking doubtful.

It appears that Mario Balotelli is struggling to catch a break since his move to Liverpool.

With just two goals to his name since a big money move from AC Milan, the 24-year-old seemed to struggle with the burden of carrying Liverpool's goalscoring threat in the absence of Daniel Sturridge. And just as the enigmatic forward was about to get a chance to feature alongside Sturridge, a hamstring injury ahead of Italy's game with Croatia has seen Balotelli sent back to Liverpool.

It is bad enough for the summer signing that his return for the Azzurri was cut short before he got the chance to get out on the pitch, but now his hope to push on with his Liverpool career as a partner to Sturridge may be in jeopardy too, at least in the short term.

The ex Chelsea man has been out injured for much of this season after originally damaging his thigh muscle on England duty in September, and is only now edging towards a recall to the Reds first team.

Sturridge has featured in just three Premier League games since the start of the campaign, with Brendan Rodgers intention surely to pair him with the former Manchester City striker in much the same way as Sturridge starred alongside Luis Suarez last season.

That partnership saw the Englishman man score 24 times in 33 games, with the Uruguayan netting 31 goals as the Reds blew sides away before them as they came up just short in the race for the title.

Though there is no news as to how serious Balotelli's injury is, any extended absence will have repercussions for both the player, and possibly the club.

As Sturridge nears the necessary level of fitness to feature for the Reds, the temptation will surely be there for Brendan Rodgers to go with his star man against Crystal Palace, a potentially dangerous route given that he strained his calf after at Liverpool just as he returned from his thigh problem.

And for Balotelli, the problem may be that if he is forced to miss several matches because of injury, Rodgers may settle into a formation in which Sturridge leads the line on his own, making it even harder for Balotelli to get the minutes he needs to really make a name for himself at Liverpool.

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