12 Nov 2015

Another Injury: 'Maverick' £16m Liverpool attacker out for 2 months; surgery needed; Anfield return on ice?

Things go from bad to worse for on-loan Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli. After being constantly misused and/or ignored by Brendan Rodgers, the Italian is currently trying to rebuild his career at AC Milan, but his chances of achieving that have just taken a giant hit.

Balotelli hasn't played for Milan since September, and according to the Liverpool Echo this week:

* After seeing a specialist this week, Balotelli is set to undergo groin surgery, which will rule him out for a minimum of two months.

* Liverpool’s medical staff 'have been in close contact' with Milan, are expected to approve the surgery.

Well, it appears that air, land, and sea are no barriers to Liverpool's ongoing injury crisis (!)

In October, Italian newspaper La Gazetta Dello Sport claimed that Klopp planned to talk with Balotelli about the possibility of cutting short his loan spell.

However, since Balotelli is not expected to be back until mid-January, that almost certainly means that a return to Anfield during the January transfer window is almost certainly off the table.

It's probably for the best, as I don't see how Balotelli will fit into Klopp's preferred way of playing:

* Using Balotelli as a lone striker is a non-starter. As last season proved, he's not suited to the role, and intensive high-pressing is not a feature of his game. To be fair, it's not a major feature of Benteke's game, either, but the Belgian is far more suited to the lone-striker role.

* Balotelli could be utilised as a second striker/number-10 (his self-confessed preferred role), but is he a better option there than Coutiho, and Firmino? Doubtful.

Here's hoping that Balotelli - charitably described as a 'maverick' by Steve Bruce - has a stormer for Milan when he returns from injury. He'll be in the shop window, and if does well, it'll be far easier to sell him on this summer.

Author: Jaimie K


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