Home » » Brendan Rodgers tells Mario Balotelli to cut out his bizarre behaviour as Liverpool stake £16m on wayward AC Milan and Italy striker

Brendan Rodgers tells Mario Balotelli to cut out his bizarre behaviour as Liverpool stake £16m on wayward AC Milan and Italy striker

Liverpool will lay down the law to Mario Balotelli over what they expect from him as he closes in on a £16million move to Anfield.
Brendan Rodgers’ summer-long search for a top-class striker has led him to Balotelli, the Italy forward who he said two weeks ago would ‘categorically not be at Liverpool’.
However, an about-turn by Rodgers has seen Liverpool agree a deal with AC Milan to sign Balotelli. They initially enquired about taking him for a season but were quoted an exorbitant loan fee

Anfield bound: Liverpool think flamboyant Italian striker Mario Balotelli is good value at £16million

Flashpoint: Balotelli had a number of run-ins during his explosive relationship with Roberto Mancini

How it's going to be: Balotelli mocked up in a Liverpool shirt in anticipation of his move to Anfield

Drive to succeed: Balotelli leaves Milan's training ground in his red Ferrari

Liverpool believe the 24-year-old is value for money at £16m, given some of the prices quoted for other strikers who have moved during this window, and have offered him a deal worth £90,000 a week.
Nevertheless, Liverpool officials met Balotelli’s representatives in a city centre hotel on Thursday night and made it clear that they would expect absolute commitment from the former Manchester City Milan forward, on and off the field.
Balotelli’s career has been littered with bizarre episodes, such as setting off fireworks in his bathroom, and they want guarantees from him there will be no more erratic behaviour. If Balotelli is not willing to accept, Liverpool would walk away and look at other targets, headed by Samuel Eto’o.
This move, though, comes after Liverpool have done significant research into his character and Rodgers believes Balotelli has the tools to help his side develop in the Barclays Premier League and the Champions League. More significantly, it is felt he will thrive in the environment at Liverpool’s Melwood training base, where Rodgers has built a tightly knit group that is strong enough to cope with the arrival of such a larger-than-life figure.
Some will wonder why, after selling Luis Suarez, Liverpool are prepared to take another gamble but Sportsmail columnist Jamie Carragher feels Rodgers’ man-management would help Balotelli.
‘The main thing for any player is what he does on the pitch,’ said Carragher. ‘Both players had issues off the pitch, but I think it’s fair to say Suarez did a lot more on the pitch. Would Balotelli be the final piece of the jigsaw? Would he make the starting XI if everyone was fit and firing? Who knows?’

Stats: Balotelli's Premier League record (via Opta)

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