21 Oct 2014

Legend tells BR: Dump Balotelli & replace him with 'dazzling' £31m star. More like Suarez?

After failing to score again at the weekend, the pressure on £16m Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli is building, and with a vital Champions League game against Real Madrid to come on Wednesday, Anfield legend Jamie Carragher has called on Reds boss Brendan Rodgers to take drastic action.

In his Monday column for the Daily Mail, Carra offered several reasons why Rodgers should drop Balotelli for the Madrid game, and play £31m-rated Raheem Sterling up-front instead:

* Balotelli doesn't 'run around enough'
* LFC need Sterling's 'energy', which Balotelli doesn't offer.
* Sterling can 'run in behind' during counter-attacks.
* He can also 'press from the front', and help the midfield.

Carra is spot on about the benefits of playing Sterling up-front, and the youngster is clearly a lot more like Luis Suarez than Balotelli, but in my view, it's a terrible idea to drop the Italian for the Madrid game, for the following reasons:

* If Balotelli is going to deliver for Liverpool, then Rodgers needs to retain his faith in the striker and keep him motivated. Dropping him for one of the biggest games of the season is not the way to do that.

* Champions league football is probably one of the main reasons why Balotelli signed for Liverpool, so losing out on that - especially against Real Madrid - will probably demotivate the striker, which could have a knock-on effect on future performances.

* Sterling is a good player, but like Balotelli, he is not an out-and-out striker. In theory, moving him upfront sounds like a good idea, but there's no guarantee that he'll do any better than Balotelli.

* Whether fans like it or not, Balotelli is Liverpool's problem now, so it's in the club's interested to maximise his potential and try to get the best out of him.

* Balotelli's only goal this season came in the Champions League, so going into the game, that may give him the confidence to push on and score again.

* Unlike Sterling, Lambert, Borini et al, Balotelli has copious big game experience in the Champions League, and at International level, which arguably gives him the edge.

As Balotelli explained over the weekend, he prefers to play as a number 10, but Rodgers keeps deploying him as a lone central striker. If that's the manager's plan for Madrid, then it's (arguably) tactical suicide - the best solution is to play Sterling alongside Balotelli, which will allow the Italian to drop a little deeper without compromising Liverpool's attacking presence up front.

Ultimately, as Winston Churchill once said: "If you're going through hell, keep going", and in Balotelli's case, that's exactly what he needs to do right now: keep going until the goals start to flow.



  1. No 10? With the players we've got? He's having an absolute laugh. No 10's in our team have to be intelligent, pick clever passes, bring others into play and be our link between midfield and attack. Balotelli doesn't do any of these things. What he means is that he wants to hang around on the edge of the box and take pot shots from distance in the hope it might fly in.
    The kind of form we've seen from Balotelli wouldn't be tolerated from any other player in the squad as Coutinho found recently. He's had a fair run of games and he appears to have learned nothing of our philosophy and is just doing his own thing. I think a period out of the team and a lot of work on the training field is required with him.
    Off topic, I'm watching Man City destroying CSKA, what I wouldn't give to have Vincent Kompany marshalling our defence.

  2. To be fair, Coutinho has been given plenty of chances in the team since he signed in January 2013, and Rodgers has continued to play him at times when his form didn't warrant it. Balotelli has only played 10-odd games for LFC.

  3. What I meant was that Coutinho started the season poorly and found himself on the bench, and quite rightly so.
    If you want to talk about demotivating people, Lambert and Borini must be gutted watching the dross Balotelli is producing and they still can't get a sniff. I'm not believing that Balotelli is the hardest working in training out the 3 of them either as I'm sure, Borini in particular, will train like a demon

  4. Well, Rodgers seems to have a different view. He stated recently: "Mario has worked like a lion over the past fortnight. Nobody is more determined than him to show his value and worth". If Lambert and Borini are the alternatives for a CL game with Real Madrid, then LFC have serious problems. Neither of those players has big game experience; Balotelli does, which makes him (IMO) the superior option, even with his form issues.

  5. its funny how you have pre conceived notions on players without no evidence ....even when the evidence points you in a different direction ...rogers has stated that balo trains hard ( fact ) rogers has never mentioned how hard Lambert and borini train ( fact ) there are 11 players on the pitch ( fact ) at this moment non of these players especially the defense is playing well ( fact ) so its all balos falut ( fail )

  6. balotelli ha so far shown:

    1) He has no striker instincts the miss vs spurs and qpr show he aint a gaol scorer
    2) he does not run in behind defences has terrible movement

    3) link up play is awful lambert done more in only 70mins vs west brom

    4) he does not ahve energy to play in rodgers high pressing system

    5) also he does not care for liverpool if you see goals vs qpr he does not celebrate look at how hendo celebrates compared to balotelli that tells the whole story

  7. He certainly not working as hard on the pitch as those around him and like you I cannot believe he is working harder than those players. It is hard to watch him as he is not doing anything Borini couldn't do at the moment and at least Fabio would work his socks off which should be a minimum. Unfortunately depressing options up front at the minute. If I was to be kind to Ballotelli I would say he was well marked against QPR.

  8. we have no choice now we have to continue with mario till januray if no improvement have to buy a player that acturley style of play fits into the style in witch we play and I think we shud try to sign inkoulo from marssalle dont no if dat wright spellng great defender work well wth lovern

  9. Mate it is an idea made up of how he is on the pitch. If he is like that when it is a competitive game then it becomes hard to believe that he is working hard in training.

    Rodgers has mentioned how hard Balo trains (fact) He has NEVER felt the NEED to talk about how hard Borini and Lambert train (depsite saying this I am sure he has said how hard both those players have worked though I don't remeber any beats metaphors). There are 11 players (fact) 1 is the striker (fact) he is playing below the standard we want (fact) others are too which is their fault too (fact) such as Lovren who has been criticised (fact) Mingolet (fact), Gerrard (fact), the fullbacks (fact) Sakho (fact) others (fact).

    Balo is one of the worst performers at the moment and gets stick for it. One reason is we need he more with Sturridges absence but more because he hasn't seemed to try hard enough or have his head right in many games especially the last and worst performance of the season. It's not all Balos fault but his own terrible form is.

  10. Borini has played against teams that have been in the champions league. Not the level of Madrid but certainly against old and prestigious clubs.

  11. listen balo isn't playing well but hes playing better than lovren and skirtal are in there respective positions but as always they get a free pass....perhaps his agent should assign him a dumbass goal celebration to show how he care perhaps a cross between peter crouches robot dance and jurgan klinsmans dive

  12. Personally i think Mario is just making excuses because he is lazy and cant score. reminds me of ozil. quality but so lazy and always blaming others. he should play RW. the reason why Balotelli is not shining is because he is not getting service. on the wing, he will get the ball plenty. i think our problem is Lovren, Lambert, Balotelli and Markovic. 4 players worth £60M who are not up to the required standard and we could have bought Yarmolenko instead of Lambert £17M, Memphis Depay instead of Markovic for £13M, and Alex Pato for £16M instead of Balotelli. if not £20M for Mauro Icardi for Balotelli. Pato is still a world class Striker. at 25, he is the perfect Suarez replacement to play alongside Coutinho. his record is second to none. 63 goals/18 assists in 150 games for AC Milan in the Champions League and Serie A and 27 goals/7 assists in 73 games since being back in Brazil. he is lightnening quick and fits in with how we played last season which was explosive coutner attack football. because BR signed so much players like FM without any tactital plan, were not playing like last season. Yarmolenko is another player who suits our play of last season and is also a potential world class player many world class stats. last season 21 goals/4 assists in 39 games from RW. this year 7 goals/9 assists in 12 games. hes on fire. 83 goals/52 assists in 230 games for club. 24 years old. 15 goals/9 assists in 40 games for country. 6 ft 3 just like Lambert but 8 years younger, lightnening quick, whole load of skills and thunderous left foot. World Class. and Depay who is a world class young talent who got 2 goals/2 assists at the world cup despite only being 20 and has got 30 goals/25 assists in 92 games for PSV. World Class. plus, players from the Dutch league get the best education and are all world class eventually. just look how well Tadic and Pelle are doing. and how Suarez become. Depay will be unstoppable soon. this year hes got 8 goals/4 assists in 8 games. world class. we could look like this







    subs on Depay, Emre Can and Joe Allen

    i think we should still go for those 3 specific players in January. against madrid we should start like this






    but if we buy Yarmolenko, Pato and Depay for a combined £56M in January and then back that up in the Summer with the £55M signing of Reus and Hummels(£25M and £30M), recall Ilori, Origi, Ibe and Wisdom and sell Lambert, Balotelli, Lovren, Skrtel, Lucas, Enrique, Markovic all for £65M. then we can look like this

    GK-Valdes, Mingolet and Jones
    Defence-Hummels, Ilori, Sakho, Wisdom, Flannagan, Moreno, Manquillo
    Midfield-Gerrard, Allen, Hendo, Lallana, Coutinho, Suso
    Wingers-Sterling, Yarmolenko, Depay, Reus
    Strikers-Sturridge, Pato, Origi

  13. It's fair enough wanting to give him rime which is something I agree with usually and basically we have to anyway it's just that he needs to look bothered and atvthe weekend he didn't. It's the least we can ask surely?

  14. No mate they shouldn't get a free pass and it's hard to say he is doing better. They have all been poo.

  15. may be hes raining it in to much...he knows the spotlight is on him and if he starts doing a hulk at every challenge the papers and fans will say i told you so ....the guy cant win if hes reserved he loses if he goes bananas he loses

  16. lovren is a horrid signing, likewise Markovic and Lambert. but Lovren is a poor signing. i dont know why the club dont put a policy that unless he is world class already above 24 or world class young talent with world class stats for a youngster like Depay or Sterling, then we should not pay above £15M no matter how good they are. Markovic is a £5M player, Lovren £8M as southampton paid an Lambert is a free agent. Lovren for £20M is a joke. if were paying these sums the players must be world class. Lovren just so shaky he doesnt know what hes doing

  17. It is somewhat admirable to make excuses for him but why it doesn't fly for me is this is exactly what I feared would happen. The player I had seen was this one. The one not really doing enough not really being a part of the team. It would be different if his form otherwise was better but it just isn't. You take penalities away from him and what has he done in the last few years. The odd game where he looks like he could be a worldie and the rest of the time nearly a ghost. I was praying not to be right and still hoping he will prove me wrong. Right now it just seems par for the course.

  18. I have no clue what you're on about. Fact

  19. The only reason Rodgers feels the need to inform fans how hard he's trying off the pitch is because he's been so abysmal off it. He also has more than a little bit of a reputation of being very poor in training from every other club he's been at. Personally I can't justify his inclusion in the team at this present moment and I think Rodgers is struggling to as well

  20. You need to score to have a goal celebration. Also on what planet have Skrtel and Lovren been handed a free pass? They've been berated as much as anyone this season

  21. Never mind Borini, he's not doing anything I couldn't do at the moment!!

  22. er - Man City destroying CSKA??

  23. I only watched the first half

  24. Exactly mate

  25. 1. Your grammar is disgusting.
    2. We bought him knowing that. You cannot just teach someone a predatory instinct overnight like you expect.
    3. Balotelli is far superior to Lambert if you have actually watched the matches Balo has been a far bigger threat than Lambert.
    4. Im sure he is a lot fitter than you.
    5. Does a celebration indicate passion to the extent where you can judge a player. Also taking into consideration that Balo has always celebrated like that.

  26. Ballotelli did celebrate- yhe pumped his fis albeit in an introverted fashion. I interpreted it a relief for missing a sitter earlier.

  27. Real culprit is BR! Ballotelli was an experiment that has not yet paid off!. Ignoring Bony & Remy is looking silly as both are accustomed to the lone striker role.
    All of a sudden we expect Ballotelli to play a high pressing game. Since when? If we play to his strengths this may be the game to kickstart his season. I'm not sure BR can be trusted with anymore money.

  28. Hey man, You are 100% right! Balo never celebrates other people's success. he only is good at scowling when he f"s up or when he thinks he is fouled...... His work rate = 0.0 20m for a cancerous piece of rubbish.......Remy, heart and all, would have converted at least 4 goals by now.....................