The start of preseason training on Saturday saw Mario Balotelli returning to Liverpool. It’s reported that he held his first talks with manager Jurgen Klopp to find out his role in this side for upcoming season. The results of Benteke and Balotelli: United in their Differences though wouldn’t have pleased him much. Various sources suggest that the Reds are open to any offers on the Italian and his agent Mino Raiola his on a lookout for a suitable club for his client.
Benteke and Balotelli: United in their Differences
Not that it was unexpected. Balotelli himself had admitted while at loan to Milan that he didn’t want to return to Anfield. Benteke too, is facing a similar dilemma himself. Signed from Aston Villa as the club’s second most expensive signing, the Belgian was an obvious stylistic mismatch but a signing demanded by former manager Brendan Rodgers.
Mario Balotelli : Wiser than before, but has he grown to be a better player?
His signing was the one one that was driven by the infamous “Transfer Committee”. Brendan Rodgers did feel hard done by especially after his claim on the pre-season tour in America that “You can be absolutely sure that Balotelli will not be signed”. He arrived a few weeks later. Steven Gerrard, in his autobiography claimed him to be “An absolute waste of talent” and a player is informed Rodgers his inability to go for set-pieces. While those may not be the reason anymore, his departure looks likely. To give him due credit, Balotelli seems to be a changed man. Few weeks into the Serie A, Adriano Galliani, in an
interview had remarked that he was the first to arrive for the training.
His father’s demise earlier last season is thought to have played a key role in his evolution to his current form.However, his poor return in front of the goal led the Milan hierarchy not to make his loan deal permanent. His form and fitness also had led Antonio Conte not include him in the national team. While his recent admission of being “Five out of Ten” signals a shift from his previous nature, it’s his lack of movement and his perceived inability to fit in Klopp’s “Full Throttle” approach that are known to be his unbecoming. While Raiola maybe busy finding a club, it’s highly unlikely that he will be on the bench against Arsenal for the Red’s first game of the Premier league
Christian Benteke: Another Andy Carroll-esque blunder?
The arrival of Christian Benteke wasn’t greeted with widespread acceptance but one which was understood. With Sturridge’s perennial Injury problems, Rodgers wanted a proven Premier league goalscorer. But his signing prove to be a repeat of the mistake Fenway Sports Group made with Andy Carroll. It was obvious that he was a stylistic mismatch but one that was understandable. With Daniel Sturridge’s perennial Injury woes, Rodgers needed a proven goalscorer, one that would guarantee three points against the small opponents at least.
While it maybe harsh to label him a failure, his simple misses and inability to beat even the goalkeepers in one-on-one situations only seemed to worsen his confidence. With Danny Ings fully fit, he knows chances would be hard to come by and the Final defeat to Sevilla means that there would be no European football at Merseyside next season. It’s considered to be in best interests of everyone that he puts an end to his short lived Liverpool career.
While Balotelli’s case was mired with attitude problems and issues on and off the pitch, Benteke’s is the case of repeating the past mistakes for the reds, the one which they badly hope to avoid with the signing of newboy Sadio Mane.
He may not know it yet, but his price tag has already raised a few bogeys in the Reds Boardroom