Reds manager fails to launch much of a defence of his star striker after Basel horror show.
Liverpool manager Mario Balotelli could already be running out of patience with his “calculated risk” summer signing Mario Balotelli, report the Express, after a poor performance by the player in Liverpool’s Champions League defeat in Basel was compounded by his failure to acknowledge the travelling support following the defeat.
Balotelli struggled to make much of an impact at St. Jakob Park as Liverpool were caused plenty of problems by their Swiss opposition in a 1-0 defeat, whilst he failed to add to his solitary Reds goal, which came in the club’s last group game against Ludogorets Razgrad.
Signed this summer from AC Milan, ostensibly as a replacement for the Barcelona-bound superstar Luis Suarez, Balotelli has failed to meet expectations since arriving at Anfield, with Rodgers criticising his display in Basel:
“Our service and quality in the final third wasn’t to the standard it should be. But you have to be able to make and create goals yourself as a front player and he didn’t do that.”
Rodgers also acknowledged that his summer signing of Balotelli was a gamble and also hinted that things have, so far, not gone to plan for the enigmatic forward on Merseyside:
“I said when he came in that it was a calculated risk and it’s something I have to work on to try to make it work for the team.”
“Any striker, not just him, is judged on his goals and the number of assists you make. At this moment he has not hit the numbers he will have wanted.”
Liverpool’s defeat in Switzerland has given Rodgers an additional headache, with their poor start to the Premier League season now being compounded by the fact that the club face a bun-fight against Basel for Champions League qualification – with two games against holders Real Madrid just around the corner.