Why Reds flop could have a better second season.
Liverpool transfer news: Reds to sign £63m trio ‘within days’ to seal INCREDIBLE start to the summer
Manchester United ‘on the verge’ of signing £80m trio in AWESOME swoop for Arsenal & Chelsea targets
Liverpool transfer news
Liverpool are being linked with a surprise move to raid their rivals Manchester United for the signing of Mexican goal-poacher Javier Hernandez, according to the Liverpool Echo, but they may have a better option up front on their books already in the form of Mario Balotelli.
There’s no hiding that the controversial Italian international had a nightmare first season at Anfield, scoring only one Premier League goal and struggling to get into games with what were perceived to be some lazy performances, but he’s the kind of enigma who might be worth being patient with.
It’s worth remembering that Balotelli joined late on in the summer last year, missing out on a proper pre-season with his new club, who themselves were struggling as a whole after losing star player Luis Suarez and bringing in a whole host of new names, many of which also failed to settle in quickly in this new-look side.
There was a psychological blow still being felt at Liverpool as well, with the club yet to get over their agonising Premier League title challenge from the year before that saw them miss out on the final day of the season after a sensational run of form towards the end of 2013/14 nearly saw them win their first title since 1990.
Many would have struggled in those circumstances, and Balotelli is not the only new boy on Merseyside who couldn’t get going. As ever, though, he often takes the spotlight for his past behaviour and tendancy for off-the-pitch disciplinary issues. At the same time, however, he has a weight of expectation on his shoulders simply because he is capable of being such a world class talent when he gets going.
At both Manchester City and AC Milan in recent times, we’ve seen the 24-year-old produce some amazing moments of individual skill, and his goals record at the San Siro in particular was very impressive, with 30 goals in just 54 appearances for the Rossoneri in total. After some inconsistency as a youngster, Balotelli is actually now heading towards what could be his peak, and if he has the confidence of his manager, he really could shine.
Meanwhile, rumoured Reds target Hernandez is a far more limited player, and one who, at 27, is not going to improve. Although the former Real Madrid loanee has his qualities in the box, he doesn’t have that x-factor about him – a quality Balotelli shares with former star player Suarez. Rarely has Hernandez produced a great moment of skill, and you could count the goals he’s scored from outside the box on one hand. Liverpool have a more ambitious playing style than that, and although it may be a risky move, there’s argument for saying that their current attacker is more likely to be the player to fit that approach than the United misfit.