Mario Balotelli signed for Liverpool in August at a reported price of £16 million from Italian side AC Milan. At the time this seemed like a bargain transfer for Liverpool after Milan had to fork out £19 million to purchase the striker in 2013.
Balotelli is known just as well for his acts off the pitch, as his performances on the pitch. The colourful Italian has given football fans many memorable moments such as his two-goal haul in the semi-final of the 2012 European Championships and celebration, letting off fireworks in his hotel, a video of him struggling to put a bib on and being involved in fights with fellow teammates at training.
Balotelli possesses decent goalscoring record
Despite his off-field antics he has a very respectable goalscoring record. In his time at Manchester City he scored a total of 30 goals in 80 appearances, showing that he has the ability to score goals at Premier League level.
For AC Milan he scored 30 goals in 54 appearances. Even with this goalscoring record, he has received lots of criticism throughout his career due to a range of factors such as his ego, work rate, comments he has made to the press and his actions.
Balotelli struggling at Liverpool?
Balotelli has had a slow start to life at Anfield having scored just one goal in nine appearances. His arrival at Anfield coincided with the injury to Daniel Sturridge and Rodgers decided that Balotelli was the man to lead the Liverpool attack over Rickie Lambert.
Balotelli's only goal came in the 2-1 victory over Ludogorets in the Champions League meaning that he is yet to score in the Premier League.
The main problem for Mario at Liverpool appears to be his work rate and his wastefulness in front of goal. In all of his games so far for Liverpool he has had a total of 41 shots, 12 of which were on target and this has combined for a total of one goal.
He has also looked like he doesn't really want to be out there or want to work very hard. The ultimate low point of Balotelli's short stint at Anfield was his open goal miss on the weekend against QPR which has led to even more criticism.
He was quite unlucky not to have scored either of the own goals that were scored by QPR because he was going to be on the end of both so if it was a different day he could've scored both of the own goals as well as the open goal and he could've got himself a hat-trick.
Even though Balotelli hasn't had the best start to his career at Liverpool it doesn't mean he is already a flop as some people are suggesting. He is a proven goalscorer In England and abroad and to get him for the price they did was very good business from Liverpool.
He is under a lot of pressure because he is expected fill the gap left by Luis Suarez which is obviously a very big hole to fill. Furthermore the criticism that he is receiving is somewhat unfair and it could be partly due to the fact that Liverpool haven't started off the year as well as they would've liked so they look to blame someone.
Unfortunately for Balotelli he is the most obvious to blame especially after his open goal miss on the weekend. However once he has had time to settle in he has the potential to form a very strong partnership with Daniel Sturridge and could lead Liverpool back into the top four.