When it was announced Mario Balotelli was signing for Liverpool, there was mixed reactions from the Liverpool fans.
Many thought that Rodgers would be able to get the best out of the skilful Italian, whilst others were more pessimistic due to Balotelli's reputation for being lazy and having a poor attitude. Halfway through the season and Balotelli already seems to be an unwanted figure at Anfield, but is there hope he can still prove to be a success for the Merseyside club?
A baptism of fire
It certainly hasn't been the start Balotelli was hoping for. No goals in 11 games in the Premier League, and he's had 43 shots without scoring a goal, the most of any player in Europe's top five leagues.
After persisting with Balotelli up front, Rodgers seemingly lost faith in him, opting to play European Golden Boy Raheem Sterling as a lone striker in recent weeks. All the signs would suggest Balotelli is poised for an early exit, however that may not necessarily be the case.
There aren't many clubs interested in Balotelli, and a move back to the Serie A is unlikely this January, due to the financial restrictions of many Italian clubs. Liverpool are currently planning to let Balotelli go at the end of the season, however if he can prove successful in the next few months, Liverpool might want to keep him come the end of the season. And there are many reasons to suggest Balotelli could prove to be a good buy.
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Chances for the future
The imminent return of Daniel Sturridge will only help Balotelli. The two have only started one game together, and that was the 3-0 win at Tottenham in which Liverpool produced their best display of the season.
It is unfair to label Balotelli as a flop until he has the opportunity to play consistently alongside Sturridge. He is clearly more effective when he's played alongside someone, and what better strike partner for Balotelli than last seasons second top goalscorer. There is definitely the potential for them to form a great partnership and that will make Liverpool a much more dangerous team.
Remember that Balotelli has only been at Anfield a few months, in which he's suffered from an injury which kept him sidelined in a busy period. One thing that will make Balotelli better is simply time.
Opportunity for redemption
From now until the end of the season he will have had much more time to gel with his new team mates and settle in, and as a result you can expect to see better performances on the pitch in the near future, and a better goal return. One thing you must have with Balotelli is patience. If you give him time, he will produce.
The main reason though that Balotelli will be able to succeed at Liverpool, is simply because he is a great player. The Golden Boy of 2010, Mario Balotelli has been playing at the top level since he was a teenager, and is very experienced for someone of his age.
He has technique most other footballers can only dream of. He has been highly successful in his career so far winning nine major trophies plus individual honours, and there is no reason he can't be successful with Liverpool-as long as they give him the chance to do so.