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Mario Balotelli set for Crystal Palace clash

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Mario Balotelli is set to make the Liverpool squad to face Crystal Palace on Sunday, after it was initially feared he would miss the clash through injury, reports the Liverpool Echo.

The former Manchester City man was forced to pull out of Italy's squad to face Croatia in a European Championship qualifier earlier this week when injuring his hamstring in training with his country.

It was much to the 24-year-old's misfortune, having not been included the Italian national coach Antonio Conte's first four squads since he took charge and looked to try and impress.

Much needed

Since returning to Merseyside, the 24-year-olds injury has been assessed and is not as bad as first feared and looks to travel to Selhurst Park for Sunday's fixture.

Balotelli has been leading the Liverpool front-line for the most part this season, due to Daniel Sturridge being out injured for the past two months.

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'Super Mario' has had limited success at Anfield thus far, having scored just two goals in 13 appearances and still awaits his first Premier League goal.

Despite Sturridge now being back to full fitness, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers will hope that Balotelli is available, presumably because he does not want to rush the England international back too quickly.

The Northern Irishman has favoured the controversial striker for the most part, and opposed both Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini, who've both had limited game time this campaign.

Benched?

Balotelli has been very poor for Liverpool since arriving from AC Milan this summer. 

Not scoring goals has just been the tip of the iceberg for the £16 million signing - he's put in several under-par performances that have frustrated Kopites due to his lazy attitude and dismal effort on the pitch.

His lack of movement has too been frustrating to watch and it has had a negative effect on his team-mates.

Philippe Coutinho was superb last season and constantly found Sturridge and Luis Suarez moving off the ball into space he could perfectly weight his pass into, however with little going on ahead of him has saw the Brazilian either hit ineffective balls or try and go alone.

Now that Sturridge is once again available, we could see Rodgers drop Balotelli to the bench and immediately bring the England international back into the Liverpool starting XI.

Partnership

Cutting Balotelli a bit of slack, he has been desperate for a strike-partner to play along side him.

He has been isolated for the most part and not had any service and when the Italian has got the ball, he lacks anybody to link up with.

The ex Inter Milan man made his debut alongside Daniel Sturridge in the 3-0 victory against Tottenham Hotspur. That day, the pair linked well and looked like they could form a deadly partnership up-top together.

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Topics:
Premier League
Mario Balotelli
Liverpool
Football

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