Absence makes the heart grow fonder and some Liverpool fans, it seems, would welcome Mario Balotelli back to Anfield with open arms at the end of the season when his loan deal with AC Milan expires.
Some genuinely believe that Balotelli would flourish under the management of Jurgen Klopp - as if he’d miraculously complete a remarkable transformation and become a high-tempo pressing machine like Carlos Tevez all of a sudden - but the current Liverpool boss must, for his own sake and that of the club, avoid the temptation of using the Italy international next season.
If there’s a chance to offload the enigmatic striker on a permanent deal in the summer, regardless of the transfer fee involved, Liverpool must accept it. They’ll regret it if they keep him.
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Signing Balotelli for £16 million last season ultimately played a role in Brendan Rodgers losing his job.
Despite the talk that Rodgers may not have been responsible for signing the controversial Italian from Milan, Liverpool’s chief executive Ian Ayre revealed earlier today that the Northern Irish coach always had the final word on transfers - just as Klopp does now.
Balotelli was a disaster at Liverpool
Rodgers treated Balotelli with complete respect during the early part of his debut season at Liverpool but was repaid with a pitiful four goals in 28 appearances, a string of lacklustre performances and the usual nonsense that surrounds the former Inter Milan and Manchester City striker.
Fans will remember the moment in last season’s Europa League against Besiktas when he selfishly decided to take a penalty off Jordan Henderson. Steven Gerrard will, too.
Lesser known are the incidents in training. One where he deliberately scored an own goal from the halfway line because he was bored, and another where he reportedly missed training altogether in order to buy the latest iPhone.
If Balotelli had the talent to back up such unprofessional behaviour then, while still not excusable, it might be a little easier to stomach.
Balotelli does not possess world-class talent
It’s a complete myth that Balotelli possesses world-class potential - something that has inexplicably stuck with him since he was a teenager. He doesn’t deserve flawed genius status because there’s been nothing to suggest he’s anything like a genius.
Yes, there have been moments of brilliance from Balotelli, but these moments have been all-too rare. The proper top-level players are capable of scoring wonderful goals, pulling off stunning passes or mazy dribbles on a far more consistent basis.
The very top players - particularly Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo - also possess that vital desire to work hard.
Work ethic has always been Balotelli’s biggest problem - and when you consider the fact Klopp puts so much emphasis on that particular trait, there’s no real reason to believe the Italian has any future at Liverpool.
Liverpool fans: should Jurgen Klopp give Mario Balotelli another chance next season? Have your say in the comments below!