Liverpool boss Rodgers states reason behind Mario Balotelli absence

The Reds chief confirmed that the Italian did not face Arsenal due to picking up an injury in training on Friday.

Liverpool’s Champions League hopes hang by a thread after the Reds were thoroughly beaten 4-1 by Arsenal yesterday at the Emirates Stadium.

With Daniel Sturridge not fit enough to start the game, the visitors deployed Raheem Sterling as the furthest man forward, with the England international having a quiet game in his team’s defeat.

Mario Balotelli was not amongst the Merseyside club’s matchday squad, with Brendan Rodgers explaining that the Italy international withdrew from the travelling contingent.

“He trained on Friday afternoon with the team and he took a slight knock to his knee and he deemed himself not able to travel,” the Northern Irish manager is quoted as saying by The Daily Mail.

“I’m not a medic. He felt it was too sore to travel. The medical staff have looked at it. It was just something that he himself didn’t feel comfortable enough to travel.”

Balotelli was signed as a replacement for Luis Suarez, who left Anfield to join Barcelona in the summer, but has struggled to adapt to life on Merseyside.

The former Manchester City attacker has only started eight Premier League games this season, with his last inclusion from the first whistle coming back in November.

The 24-year-old has Sturridge, Sterling and Rickie Lambert as competition for the leading striking berth, but has failed to win over the Anfield supporters as yet.

Balotelli has only scored one Premier League goal since returning to England, which came against Tottenham in the recent 3-2 victory at Anfield.

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