Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has given striker Mario Balotelli a reason for optimism over his future at Anfield.
The Italian has failed to settle in on Merseyside with only a couple of goals since his £16m move from AC Milan in the summer.
Indeed Balotelli has yet to score for the Reds in the Premier League and his lack of impact saw him left out completely as Liverpool's lack of cutting edge up front saw them limp to a 0-0 draw at home to Bolton in the fourth round of the FA Cup this past Saturday.
Balotelli has Anfield future
Speculation has linked Liverpool with several strikers during the January transfer window, however, with little action so far as we enter the final few days, Rodgers says Balotelli will be given the chance to prove he can have a long-term stay on Merseyside.
"We'll give Mario every chance," he was quoted by ESPN in a press conference prior to the crunch second leg tie with Chelsea in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday.
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"We brought him in here for this season to give him every chance to show he can play consistently at this level.
"It has been a difficult period for him, there's no doubt. But he's a good boy. He wants to fight for his chance here. I've seen some clippings this morning saying that's him over with here. That's not the case at all."
More effort, more opportunities
Indeed Rodgers revealed he has been telling Balotelli to look at his team-mates who have been putting the effort in at the training ground in Melwood and how they get the opportunities to play for the first team, his weekend omission was seen as some therefore as a way of highlighting a lack of commitment from the former Manchester City forward.
"I've shown a number of times here that players out of the fold who work hard in training have every chance to get back in the team - and stay there. So the opportunity's there for Mario and for every player, not just him," he explained.
The truth is, however, Mario Balotelli will find it very hard to find his way back into the starting XI on recent results and performances.
The pace and guile from Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho and the recently returned Adam Lallana in the 3-4-3 formation has seen Liverpool begin to look a solid threat with the team unbeaten in their last 10 games in all competitions.
With that style of play the chance to slot Balotelli, who works much better in a front two pairing, into the current formation is very limited indeed.
Add to that the pending return of Daniel Sturridge, who the papers are reporting could make feature in the Capital One Cup game at Stamford Bridge, then if Balotelli is failing to impress in training now, what realistic chance is there of him becoming a full time feature in the Liverpool line-up for the rest of the season?
Time to move on?
Therefore, given some of the big money bids being reported, including an audacious accumulative £63m swoop for Real Madrid's Karim Benzema and Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette, according to the Metro, if those deals are potentially on and the sale of Balotelli would boost the chances a successful purchase then few Kopites would argue against seeing the Italian leave.
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