Stats: Did Mario Balotelli perform closer to his best against Manchester United?

After being introduced at half time with Liverpool looking for a way back into the game against Manchester United, Mario Balotelli was a lively figure during the second half.

Mario Balotelli made a return from injury during yesterday's 3-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Premier League yesterday. 

The Italian had been sidelined with a groin problem and hadn't been in action for the Reds since November, but looked a threat in the second half of the Reds' humbling defeat at the hands of one of their fiercest rivals.

He was thwarted on several occasions by David De Gea in the United goal, but one can't help but feel he looked a lot more lively in that 45 minutes than for the rest of his Liverpool career to date.

His struggles have been well documented as he has only found the net on two occasions since his £16 million move from AC Milan in the summer, and has yet to find the net in the Premier League.

So, how did his performance in the second half yesterday compare to his performances over the rest of the season so far.

Here is a look below: 

Average Mario Balotelli statistics 2014/15:

  PositionTeamTotal Scoring Att GAMEOntarget Att Assist GAMEOn Target Shooting AccuracyAppearancesMins Played
Mario Balotelli FW Liverpool 4.08 0.31 36% 13 955

 Mario Balotelli statistics v Manchester United 14/12/2014:

  PositionTeamTotal Scoring AttOntarget Att AssistOn Target Shooting AccuracyAppearancesMins Played
Mario Balotelli FW Liverpool 7 0 57% 1 45

It must be remembered that Balotelli started the game from the bench, whereas in most of his appearances for the Reds so far this season, he has played more than the 45 minutes he did at Old Trafford. Despite another game where he couldn't find the net for the club he recently signed for, he got a shot on goal on nearly double the occasions he would in an average performance, whilst four of his seven strikes were stopped by the in form De Gea.

It demonstrated that he was busier than he has been normally, maybe it was down to Raheem Sterling taking up a more central position and provided the support that Balotelli will perhaps feel is necessary for Liverpool to see his best form - having previously said he prefers playing with a second striker. 

At the end of the day, these are the raw figures that Balotelli has to improve he is to become anything like a success at Liverpool. He took up some good positions yesterday and looked lively. Now he just needs to keep it up, and he'll hope the goals will follow.

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