Brendan Rodgers has sent the clearest message yet that Mario Balotelli has no future at Liverpool, saying the striker "clearly knows his situation".
The Italian striker has been busy burning bridges with the Anfield club this summer with two recent stories in particular angering fans.
First, an unconfirmed report in The Independent claimed that Balotelli has scored an own goal from the halfway line whilst taking part in a training match last season.
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Balotelli had apparently been left bemused by Rodgers' decision to put him in the weaker of the two teams and let his dissatisfaction be known with a clear act of dissent.
Second was a story from The Mirror, which claimed that the 25-year-old was happy to stay at Liverpool because doing so beyond the current transfer window would earn him a six-figure loyalty bonus.
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Needless to say, the vast majority of Liverpool fans want to see last summer's £16million addition leave, even if it is for a substantial loss on their original investment. It seems that Rodgers shares this view.
“I'll always treat individuals with respect and try to make sure they understand the situation, where they're at. It’s then their choice"
Positions are clear
He told reporters: “He clearly knows his situation and where he’s at. There’s nothing to add. All of the players understand where they’re at.
“My job is to create the best possible environment for the team to succeed. That’s what I’ve always done. So I’m not going to speak about Mario when I can speak about another 25 players.”
“I’ll always treat individuals with respect and try to make sure they understand the situation, where they’re at. It’s then their choice.
"If the manager and the club give a player a situation, if they really want to play I’m sure they’ll find a solution. If they don’t, then at least they know where they stand.
“So I repeat, the environment we’ve created here is designed to get the maximum out of the players. The comments, whether they were said or not said, they’re irrelevant to me.”
Having failed to impress at Liverpool, scoring just one Premier League goal last season, Balotelli's options are thinning fast. Sampdoria, who finished seventh in Serie A last season, appear to be one of the only clubs serious about a deal.
But even they are only interested in a loan deal, either that or a permanent deal for much less than Liverpool's current £7.1m. Wherever he goes, the striker faces an uphill battle to rebuild a self-destroyed reputation.
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