Are Mario Balotelli's comments supporting Raheem Sterling the final nail in his Anfield career?

Mario Balotelli playing for AC Milan

The Liverpool striker suggested the new Manchester City striker acted with respect to his former team, as the England international was booed on his Citizens debut.

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has already proved himself a hotly-contested figure since his move to Anfield from AC Milan, and he may have gone a step too far with his recent comments on Twitter.

Quite aside from failing to justify the multi-million pound fee it took Liverpool to front up in order to bring him back to the Premier League from Serie A, the Italy international has divided supporters with his apparent lackadaisical approach to matches at times.

But even those looking to give the undoubtedly talented 24-year-old the benefit of the doubt and offer him another chance next season will be smarting by the tweets he wrote in support of recently new Manchester City signing Raheem Sterling.

Balotelli first congratulated the player as he scored early into his debut for his new club, implying it was the best way to silence the player's critics, who predominantly would have been Reds supporters. 

The Liverpool striker then implored the Liverpool fans to forgive Sterling, a move that seemed hugely detached from the public opinion among the club's fan base regarding the player, even if it was motivated by an understandable concern for a former teammate.

The England winger controversially departed from the Reds this week after falling out with the club's supporters with his approach to what was, either a flat out interest into moving to Manchester City and Champions League football, or a desire to achieve a pay rise Liverpool would have been unable or unwilling to offer.

It left Sterling a very unpopular figure among Reds fans, and supporters in general who struggled to understand his motivation.

Balotelli of course is no stranger to being the villain of the press, so may just be defending a friend who is now going through something he has himself experienced a taste of. But even if Sterling's actions can be explained away as naive, or a result of being led astray by an immoral agent, Balotelli's comments on the matter, especially implying that Sterling "respected the club", may well distance himself from the Reds irreparably, and ensure he may struggle to ever feel welcome by the Anfield support.

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