The Italian international joined the Reds from AC Milan last summer, a deal which divided supporters’ opinion due to his evident quality and contentious behaviour on and off the field.
His style of play didn’t coincide with Brendan Rodgers’ preference of high-pressing and lots of movement, and the risk failed to pay off as Balotelli netted just one Premier League goal all season.
Now, following the signings of Danny Ings, Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino, Balotelli’s Anfield career appears all-but over, regardless of whether he’s sold this summer or not.
Speaking ahead of the campaign, Leicester City’s Claudio Ranieri says he feels sorry for his Italian compatriot and believes the 24-year-old has key qualities which have yet to be witnessed.
“Football is a game of fun and I don’t think he’s having any. I feel for Mario, he has qualities which have yet to be witnessed but it depends on him to show them,” Ranieri explained.
“I hope he gets the opportunity and shows what he can really do, because it’s a necessity and at 25-years-old, it’s no longer about having plenty of promise, he needs to show what he can do.”
Making the most of the opportunities:
Assuming Balotelli remains on Merseyside beyond the end of the transfer window, his opportunities are going to be restricted due to competition for places and he needs to make an impact.
Whether that’s on the training field or in matches, his only hope of salvaging his Anfield career is to adapt accordingly and put in the required effort every time he steps out onto the field.