After Luis Suarez left Liverpool, the club faced striker crisis. Liverpool were unable to find a player who could fill in his boots. Liverpool did sign Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli in the summer of 2014 but none of the two impressed the club’s fans. Mario Balotelli was expected to replace Suarez but he hardly made an impact during his time at Anfield. Before joining Liverpool, Balotelli had scored 26 goals in 37 league appearances for AC Milan in one and a half years. This led to very high expectations from Liverpool’s fans. But Balotelli could hardly find his footing at Liverpool and made only 10 league appearances for the club. His performances were disappointing and finally he was loaned out to his former club AC Milan after a very bad first season at Liverpool.
At AC Milan, Balotelli had injury problems and started only 8 times in the Serie A. His loan spell has ended and AC Milan turned down the chance of signing him again. His agent Mino Raiola said that Besiktas were interested in signing the Italian forward but the club’s sporting director has dismissed the rumours, saying that they are not interested. The question now is: does Balotelli have a future at Liverpool?
In the current situation, it seems that Balotelli will not get a new club and will spend one more season at Anfield. Balotelli is not the most mobile of strikers. His style of play does not go well with Klopp’s tactics. He likes the ball to be delivered to him rather than going after the players and creating chances for himself. He prefers taking long shots but Liverpool already have Coutinho to complete that task. He is clearly not the sort of striker who will solve Liverpool’s striker woes.
Assuming that Balotelli stays at the club and assuming his recent form, Klopp might not give Balotelli many chances. Next season, Liverpool will only have the Premier League to focus on and fans will expect at least a top-4 finish. Klopp needs a striker who can not only score goals but also create chances. He needs a utility player who can play on the wings as well as in the centre equally well. Balotelli is currently at his worst and he surely is not the utility player Klopp is looking for. Also he will have strong competition from Danny Ings and Divock Origi for a place in the squad. Balotelli needs to take full advantage of the chances that he will get or else Klopp will not hesitate showing him the exit door. Balotelli has been linked with a move to China and moving away from Liverpool seems to be the best option for the controversial Italian forward.