The Italian striker has struggled in his first few months at Anfield, and now his manager has admitted he was not a long term target.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has defended the signing of Mario Balotelli, but admitted that the transfer was a “calculated risk”.
The signing of Balotelli has been questioned after his slow start, with the striker apparently lacking the mobililty and attitude necessary to lead the line for Rodgers’ Liverpool, which relied heavily on pace and energy last season. The Northern Irishman, quoted in the Guardian, has defended the move on the basis that it was the best option available at the time.
“We had attempts for other strikers that didn’t materialise for one reason or another,” Rodgers confessed. “It left us right at the end of the window with a decision on whether just to go with what we had, when experience told us we were too light, or take a calculated risk on a player who has quality and then could we get it out of him consistently?”
“There were very few who are top class who were available and Mario Balotelli was a calculated gamble that we had to to try to work with.”
Rodgers defended Balotelli after Liverpool’s disappointing loss to Basel in the Champions League, despite being given plenty of opportunities to criticise the player by the assembled media. Now he seems to be backtracking on his decision to sign the player, emphasising that circumstances forced his hand.
“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.”