Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard accuses Mario Balotelli of wasting his career, but is there still hope?

Balotelli Milan back

Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has accused controversial striker Mario Balotelli of wasting his career but is there still hope he could turn things around?

Gerrard, speaking in the serialisation of his book 'My Story' in the Daily Mail, said he knew Balotelli's move to Liverpool was destined to fail and thinks the Italian will never fulfil his potential.

Balotelli is now on loan at AC Milan after his disastrous time on Merseyside which saw him score just four times in 27 appearances last season.

'A world class waste of talent'

Gerrard pulled no punches in assessing the former Inter Milan and Manchester City striker's time at Anfield describing him as 'lazy and selfish'.

"He is very talented with the potential to be world class, but he'll never get there because of his mentality and the people around him. Balotelli's always late, he always wants attention," Gerrard says in 'My Story' as serialised by the Daily Mail.

"He says the wrong things on social media. For me, he doesn't work hard enough on a daily basis.

"You're always fighting a losing battle with Balotelli. He does too many things wrong."

Ironically with Gerrard since moving to the United States of America with LA Galaxy and his old boss Brendan Rodgers under intense pressure to hang on to his job at Anfield, Balotelli could yet outlast both should AC Milan decide to send him back after his season-long loan deal.

Gerrard's comments highlight the problem

But do Gerrard's comments highlight one of the problems in getting the best out of Balotelli? After all this is a player that helped Manchester City win the Premier League, something Gerrard could not manage despite his famous qualities.

In the book, Gerrard also admits: "I'd never met Balotelli but I'd heard all the stories about the indoor fireworks and Jose Mourinho describing him as an 'unmanageable' player."

So before the Italian had even joined Gerrard's mind was made up.

It could be argued that Balotelli needs to go to a club with a lower profile than the likes of the two Milans, Liverpool or Manchester City.

Less pressure, less problems?

A club where he will be the main man, where all the attacks go through him. Perhaps that is what it will take to reinvigorate his career and give him that hunger back which made him so brilliant for Italy in Euro 2012.

He would also be under less pressure at a supposedly "smaller" club and may enjoy being out of the intense spotlight.

While much of his recent failures have been his own doing, we must also not forget that there were been mitigating factors for his dismal season with the Reds too.

Mitigating circumstances

Firstly, he was replacing the irreplaceable in many respects when he stepped into Luis Suarez's shoes at Anfield.

Secondly, he was often deployed as a lone striker, not a role he has ever been accustomed to at any of his previous clubs, where he was either used in a strike partnership or as one of the wide forwards in a three-pronged attack.

Thirdly, he has been ploughing a lonely furrow in a team that had been struggling for long periods of the season.

Whatever happens at AC Milan and despite Gerrard's stinging criticism, there will be someone who wants to take a gamble on a striker who still boasts a decent scoring record with 79 goals - including 13 for Italy - during his career so far and is only 25-years-old.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch