Balotelli: Goal drought?
It is no secret that Mario Balotelli is a hand full, controversy is his best friend and his personality is certainly fiery. So why sign him? Goals. Throughout his career, the Italian striker has been lethal in front of goal, for both Milan clubs and of course Manchester City. However, after making a high profile move to Liverpool this season, he has struggled and with no Premier League goals in Red so far, is Super Mario on a goal drought?
The 28th November, Liverpool lock horns with fellow First Division side Swansea in a wintery Anfield in the Capital One Cup. With 15 minutes to play, a shock result is on the cards as Marvin Emnes’ goal sees the Swan’s purring with a 1-0 lead. With Rickie Lambert struggling, Brendan Rodgers sent on Balotelli with the hope of turning the game around.
Before the Italian’s boots set foot on the pitch, Balotelli’s record was unpleasant viewing with only a single goal in 11 appearances, against Bulgaria’s Ludogorets. Now on the pitch, Balotelli lurked in the penalty area as fellow countryman Fabio Borini whipped in a deadly cross. With Swansea keeper Gerhard Tremmel challenging for the ball, Balotelli attacked and stuck out a foot sending the ball into the far corner. To the crowd’s relief, the ball nestled in the red netting, Liverpool going onto win 2-1 with Super Mario’s goal proving crucial.
On social media site Instagram, minutes after the game, Balotelli posted a picture of the goal with the caption: ‘Yooo! Finally!’ accompanied with a laughing face emoticon. Unfortunately for the 6’ 2” hit man, his caption couldn’t have summed up his season so far any better. Whilst Balotelli has looked sharp in goal, giving the Red’s an extra dimension, goals have proved hard to come by.
Team mates and manager Brendan Rodgers have shown their support, stressing that once he gets started the ex-Man City man will be prolific. After all, at his previous clubs Balotelli has led the line with reams of goals. At Inter Milan, the Palermo born forward scored 28 goals in 86 appearances, at Man City scored 30 in 80 and at AC Milan 30 in 54. Whereas, if Balotelli maintains his current score rate for the rest of this season, his league tally can be no more than five.
With Daniel Sturridge returning from injury soon, unless Balotelli starts finding the net promplty his place could be under further threat. Whilst Rodgers may be enthusiastic about giving Balotelli pitch time to get him off the mark, Sturridge is badly needed. Although the Italian only has 2 goals in 12 games, fellow striker Rickie Lambert has also faltered in his debut season and is yet to score in 10 appearances.
So, with Mario Balotelli breaking a barren run against Swansea this week, can the usually prolific front man transfer this form into the Premier League and end his Liverpool goal drought?
Kobe, YJA Sports Correspondent
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