4 passes, 14 touches: Why Balotelli's Liverpool career looks to be over

The Reds striker was unable to provide any spark for Liverpool in his cameo against Manchester United.

Mario Balotelli again failed to offer anything to Liverpool's season as they lost 2-1 to Manchester United on Sunday.

The former Manchester City man has just one Premier League goal to his name since joining from AC Milan last summer, and when called upon to help his side find a way back into the game against their fierce rivals, did little to suggest that he was going to add to that dismal tally.

With the Reds down to 10 men following Steven Gerrard's dismissal, Brendan Rodgers turned to Balotelli with 24 minutes left in the hope his unpredictable nature would come down on the helpful side for a change.

  PositionTeamTotal Scoring AttTotal Att AssistWon ContestDuel WonAerial WonTouchesAccurate PassFoulsAppearancesMins Played
Mario Balotelli FW Liverpool 1 0 1 4 2 14 4 1 1 24

Instead, the striker tended to bleed the Reds of any impetus whenever he got on the ball, and completed just four passes in his time on the pitch. By comparison, Gerrard completed as many in 38 seconds.

The Italy international's one attempt on goal was from a free kick at least 35 yards away from goal, in what was the unlikeliest of scoring opportunities, and even that went straight into the United wall.

Indeed, Balotelli threatened to make Liverpool's day even worse with a couple of petulant flashes of his now infamous temper once he took to the pitch.

Firstly, he was booked after chasing United defender Phil Jones into the corner of the pitch, only to trip up the England international and then flick the side of his face with his hand.

And later on, the Italian was on the receiving end of a tussle with Chris Smalling that saw him bundled into the advertising hoardings on the side of the pitch. It took Liverpool fans holding him back to stop the forward from retaliating, something that may well have stopped the Reds from going down to nine men.

Somewhere in this 24-year-old is a supremely talented striker with a confidence and flair that should pull him to the very top, that's why clubs like Liverpool continue to give Balotelli a chance, and also why he is so frustrating.

But the loss to United was further proof that if Balotelli is to salvage his career from the waste of promise it is threatening to become, it won't be at Anfield.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch