Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has revealed that controversial striker Mario Balotelli told Brendan Rodgers that he couldn't mark on corners in his first training session with the Merseyside outfit.
As reported by the Daily Mail, Gerrard wrote in his book 'My Story' that he 'nearly fell into the goalpost' after the Italian forward made the admission to the Reds chief on the training ground.
In fact, the LA Galaxy midfielder claims the Liverpool boss told Balotelli that he would have to learn, with Gerrard insisting that his former manager 'stood up to Mario really well.'
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The former England captain stated: "I reminded myself that I had always allowed every new player to come into the club with a clean slate. Balotelli’s reputation tested that resolve but I tried my best to be open-minded. He made an immediate impression when we were doing work on our defensive set pieces and Balotelli said to Brendan: ‘I don’t mark on corners. I can’t.’
"I nearly fell into the goalpost. I was thinking, ‘What are you? Six foot three, and one of the strongest men I’ve ever seen on a football pitch? And you can’t mark on a corner?’
"Brendan was very firm. He said to Balotelli: ‘Well, you can now – and if you can’t then you’re going to learn.’
"That was the first conflict between Brendan and Balotelli, on day one, but the manager stood up to Mario really well. From that point, Balotelli started marking on corners."
Of course, things didn't quite go to plan for Balotelli at Anfield as he endured a torrid time during his one season at the club. Scoring just one Premier League goal for the Reds, it's not entirely surprising that the forward departed the club in favour of a move to AC Milan last summer.
Latest forward line
One thing's for sure, without Balotelli, Liverpool now possess a fine forward line. Summer signing Christian Benteke is already starting to prove his credentials for the club, while Daniel Sturridge will be determined to return to full fitness sooner rather than later.
A partnership of Benteke and Sturridge really should excite the Liverpool faithful. England international Sturridge will only accommodate Benteke, who will be on a high after his wonderful strike against Manchester United on Saturday.
Rodgers certainly has a number of problems at Anfield, but the return of Sturridge should change the dynamics of the club's attack.
Liverpool fans: Do you expect Sturridge and Benteke to form a strong partnership? Have your say below!