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27 Oct 2014

Rival boss insists: €20m 'maverick' was Liverpool's 'best player' against Hull. Agree?

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli continues to face ridiculously overwrought criticism from the media (and ex_LFC players), but despite the ongoing furore, his last two games have (arguably) featured his best performances for the Reds. Ex-Manc Steve Bruce agrees, and in his post-match interview, he hailed the Italian's impact against Hull.

In his post-match interview, Bruce enthused:

"I thought he [Balotelli] was their best player.

"He is a bit of a maverick, and when you sign a maverick you have to treat him like one and get the best out of him somehow.

"He is going through one of those sticky periods but the kid is a talent."

Is Bruce right about Balotelli being Liverpool's 'best player' against Hull? Basic stats from the game:

- Tackles won: 100%
- Passing accuracy: 71.4%
- Duels won: 35%
- Aerial duels won: 25%
- Successful dribbles: 3
- Total Shots: 2

The stats don't really tell a compelling story, but compared to other players who featured against Hull:

* One of the lowers passing accuracy percentages, but Manquillo (70%), and Lallana (68%) were worse.

* Only Coutinho and Sterling had more shots at goal.

* Failed to create a single chance and didn't get any crosses into the box.

To his credit, Balotelli worked hard all game, and ran around chasing lost causes, so that's definitely a positive. He's also getting in some great scoring positions, and it's far more concerning for a striker when that's not happening.

When all is said and done, though, the only thing that matters is goals and assists. A striker's primary role is to score and create goals, and if that's happening on a regular basis, then everything else is just background noise.

If Balotelli is scoring/creating goals on a regular basis, it makes it harder for the Media/pundits etc to get on his back. Misery loves company, and the longer he misfires on the pitch, the easier it is for people to stick the knife in.

With so much antipathy flying around, it's a real mental challenge for Balotelli at the moment, and so far he's handling it well. That said, until he starts making a specific contribution on a regular basis, it will continue to be open season.

As for LFC's best player against Hull - for me, Balotelli is in the top 5, but Sterling would be ahead of him, and Skrtel and Lovren deserve credit for orchestrating a rare clean-sheet.

Hopefully, the first of many...



  1. I think Coutinho's cameo probably wins him MOTM against Hull. Gerrard had a good game too.

  2. Coutinho was brilliant. Not many players can achieve those exhibits of skill that he performed.

  3. Balotelli is trying too hard to score and that is not helping him. He needs to relax a bit. Rodgers is too stubborn too. Playing 2 strikers helps Liverpools game and it helps Balotelli but Rodger is not listening.

  4. When Lambert came on we finally looked threatening and with Coutinho and Sterling cutting in then we were reqlly creating problems for Hull.

    Against Swansea we should start Balo and Lambert so they can work together and both get some goals which will inevitably help raise there confidence when we play against Newcastle.

  5. Coutinho did more in the little time he had than anyone else on the pitch easily MOTM. His performances are replicating the form that he has showed early in his LFC career and to be fair last season. Balo improved but still is far off for me. Goals Balo... Goals.

  6. For me Lambert was doing a good job coming in.

  7. Don't wait till Summer, by end of November if Liverpool don't perform, it clearly shows that BR is clueless on how to turn Liverpool into a winning Team then it says all that BR has reached his peak. So what needs to be done is obvious, Liverpool owner has to decide or the entire Team confidence will begin to scale downhill and the club would look awful. IMO the players in the Team are OK, it is BR who is clueless and unable to innovate attacking strategies to win games. You can see every game Liverpool plays are so predictable and opposing Managers know to take Liverpool out. Against QPR, if not for their own goals, Liverpool looked aweful and should have lost the game against a Team at the bottom table.

  8. Mr. Point Of View8:42 am, October 27, 2014

    Depends on position we compare. If a striker like him at that match is poor. Cant point all the blame on him bcoz overall the whole team is BAD. Make no different whom the bad and the bad"est" hahahaa

  9. Don't know why every one is on Balotelli's(24) back? He has never and never ever will be a prolific striker, he is a good second striker . Striker who plays in the hole. Balotelli(24) will score 12-20 goals a season, but heeds a mobile, quick pacey striker playing ahead of him. ( Sturridge 25)
    B Rodgers needs to bring in these two attackers and three defensive players to club in January : So if Sturridge(25) is ever out injured again, Balotelli(24) can still excel as we would have another mobile fast pacey quick forward in reserve waiting to take over and compete with Sturridge(25)
    Attacking players:
    1: FD: L Adriano(27) Of Shakhtar Donesk Or P Aubamayeng(25) Of Borussia Dortmund for £16-£20M for either striker to compete and cover Sturridge(25)
    2: RWF / LWF: Pedro(27) Of Barcelona for £23-£27M to compete and Cover Lallana(26)
    Defensive players:
    3: GK: T Krul(26) Of Newcastle for £10-£15M
    4:DM: Y M'Vila(24) Of Rubin Kazan( On Loan at Inter Milan) For £10-£14M
    4:DM: C Tiote(28) Of Newcastle for £10-£12M
    Those 3 defensive players will help defence and team stop conceding goals for fun and make side harder side to beat.
    The 2 attackers would bring more class, creativity, mobility, pace, speed and GOALS to side/squad that is desperately needed and more space will be left for Balotelli(24) to exploit with pacey and speedy players ahead and around him.

  10. Hmmmmm...allen still playing for liverpool?

  11. I think what Steve Bruce has been saying about Mario is a breath of fresh air. Fair play to him, he could have easily continued the media outcasting of him, but stuck to his own footballing opinion and wasnt mislead like a lot of other people. Balo was unlucky on the day

  12. He need the right strikers to do it, Sturridge coming back should ease the pressure and help Balos game

  13. I haven't heard anyone mention Can, he had a great game !

  14. Thumbs up for the bit about Balotelli.

  15. Let Steve Bruce have him. He constantly makes the wrong choices. We have basically picked up a project because for him to become a top goalscorer he will pretty much have to change his game. Do we have time to wait for that? I'd rather the youthful enthusiasm of Berahino and Origi than Balotelli at the moment. Their movement alone would enable us to press from the front and would give our ball players, Coutinho and Gerrard more time on the ball with teams dropping off.

  16. How did he not create a single chance? I remember him crossing the ball to Joe Allen and then passing the ball to Lovren within the six yard box. (The bullet points sounded like the were directed towards balo)

  17. lovren and skirtal need a pat on the back for keeping a clean sheet at home to Hull our plight so bad Jaimie

  18. I think this assessment was very nice of him to say though deffo not accurate. Dont want to join the witch hunt, is just that his movement is just never sharp or intelligent enough. Its like he lacks footall intelligence and is off the pace with the attacking players around him.I find him very frustrating to watch

  19. I agree, touch of luck scores two or three.

  20. Didn't you see his attempt which the goalkeeper saved; i.e. the gap he ran into for the pass from Stirling. Think again Justice of the Peace.

  21. Both of the own goals you are talking about came from great attacking moves from LFC, and probably would have resulted in goals anyway.