The Italian striker’s club struggles are forcing Antonio Conte to look elsewhere.
Liverpool’s Mario Balotelli has had a bad week. After consecutive poor performances for Liverpool, the striker is set to be left out of Antonio Conte’s squad for Italy’s games against Azerbaijan and Malta.
The striker failed to get a touch in the opposition box in Liverpool’s midweek fixture against Basel and has come in for increasing criticism from Liverpool fans and former players, with Jamie Carragher criticising the players work-rate on Sky Sports.
In contrast, Graziano Pellè’s form for Southampton has been impressive. He has scored four times in six Premier League appearances, including a stunning bicycle kick against QPR last week.
The contrasting form of the two players has led the Gazzetta delo Sport to conclude that the Liverpool player will be replaced in the squad by the Southampton goal machine.
Balotelli was also left out of Conte’s last Italy squad, which many assumed was due to the one match ban he had still to serve. If he is left out of this round of fixtures too, it will be clear that it is his form that is the concern.
The striker will at least be in good company, with Italian maestro Andrea Pirlo also reportedly set to miss out.