Liverpool have risked embarrassing Mario Balotelli after intentionally cropping the Italian out of a photo to show their world-class players.
The Reds posted a tweet to a story about Adam Lallana, who says he can’t wait to link up with “world class” talent back at Melwood.
The photo features Philippe Coutinho alongside Emre Can and £32.5 million summer signing Christian Benteke - but the original photo also features the out-of-favour Balotelli.
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Balotelli’s future at Anfield is in doubt following a dismal debut campaign which saw the Italy international score four goals in 28 appearances.
Brendan Rodgers said last week that Balotelli’s future is in his own hands - although the fact the Liverpool boss has brought in the likes of Benteke, Danny Ings and Roberto Firmino this summer suggests the former Manchester City star could be sold before the summer transfer window closes on September 1.
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Balotelli has been a huge disappointment
Although Rodgers accepted that Balotelli was a risky signing last summer, the Northern Irish coach must have expected the talented striker would have produced more flashes of brilliance in a Liverpool shirt.
But the 24-year-old was utterly underwhelming last season, scoring one solitary Premier League goal following his £16 million transfer from AC Milan.
Balotelli was regarded as something of a flawed genius prior to his arrival at Anfield - always causing trouble off the pitch but capable of producing magic on it - but his reputation as a footballer has taken a real hammering over the past 12 months.
So much so, in fact, that Balotelli is now being linked with clubs like Italian minnows ASD Lupa Castelli.
Balotelli and world-class potential - a big myth?
How many managers at top Premier League club would be prepared to take a gamble on Balotelli following his spell at Anfield? Potentially zero.
The widely-held belief that Balotelli possesses unlocked world-class potential is arguably a myth. Barring the odd piece of skills or great goal, the Italian has shown little to suggest he’s capable of scoring 20-plus league goals a season.
Balotelli turns 25 next month and is in real danger of wasting the best years of his career unless he seriously knuckles down and works hard.
However, he may need to leave Liverpool in order to begin the process of rebuilding his troubled career.
Liverpool fans: do any of you still have faith in Mario Balotelli? Is he potentially world class, or is he overrated? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!