Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
The summer transfer window has been awash with high-profiled players joining the Premier League’s top clubs but there is one name that stands out as the single most exciting.
Whilst the likes of Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, Angel di Maria, and Alexis Sanchez are all mouth-watering prospects, it is the return of Mario Balotelli that will have Premier League fans salivating in anticipation.
With Balotelli back in England, fans can look forward to plenty of entertainment from the madcap Italian – as well as some breathtaking skill on the pitch.
Here’s why we think Liverpool’s marquee signing can be a huge hit at Anfield.
Fiery Attitude To Be A Hit With The Kop
It is no secret that Balotelli’s wild persona has put off potential suitors in the past but it is that unpredictable nature that could make him the latest star striker at Anfield. The 24-year-old has been brought in to Liverpool to help replace the goals vacated by the departed Luis Suarez and the Italian definitely boasts a number of similarities to his Uruguayan predecessor.
Balotelli, like Suarez, is a natural talent and has all the makings of a star. Whilst his career to date has largely been defined as inconsistent, his CV already boasts domestic league and cup titles in both Italy and England as well as a Champions League winners’ medal. Unfortunately, though, his achievements are often overshadowed by his off-field antics and occasional moment of madness on it.
However, the same could be said of Suarez, who will largely be remembered for biting people rather than scoring goals for fun at the very top level.
Likewise, the controversies surrounding stars such as Robbie Fowler never prevented him from being regarded as a God amongst the Kop faithful and assuming Balotelli finds the net regularly, it won’t have any impact on their feelings towards their newest sensation.
Liverpool have always been blessed with prolific forwards and Super Mario will be eager to emerge as the newest Anfield hero. He certainly possesses all the qualities to just that.
Rodgers To Help Mario Grow From Boy To Man
Whilst Balotelli’s penchant for adventure will never fade completely, the Italian does appear to have grown up a lot since departing Manchester City 18 months ago and now cuts a far more mature figure than the one which rocked up to the Etihad in 2010.
Back then, Balotelli was a boy but he now looks ready to become a man.
Manager Brendan Rodgers is determined to keep Balotelli on the straight and narrow and is already looking to the calming influence of captain Steven Gerrard to ensure that the Italian isn’t led astray. Ultimately, though, as long as he provides the goods on the pitch his relationship with the club will remain strong.
Despite not scoring on his debut against Tottenham, there were plenty of early indications that he and fellow attacking stars Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling can form a formidable attacking line and that should help spur Balotelli and Liverpool to success in 2014/15 and beyond.
Big Game Player
There is absolutely no doubt that Liverpool are capable of playing some of the Premier League’s most scintillating football and on their day they are a joy to behold. The fact Rodgers’ men hit 101 league goals in 2013/14 is glowing testimony to that. However, especially in the light of Suarez’s sale, the Reds definitely need a talisman to turn things around when the chips are down.
Of six league defeats last term, four came against the other Champions League qualifiers and that record simply must improve if the Reds are serious about ending their 25 year wait for a 19th domestic title.
Fortunately, in Balotelli, they have a striker who thrives under the spotlight.
The enigma of Balotelli will always draw attention but the madcap Italian regularly shines on the big stage. His infamous ‘Why Always Me?’ moment against Manchester United will forever be engraved into the history of British football, whilst he also provided the assist for Sergio Aguero’s last-gasp title-winner in 2012/13. That goal ended City’s 44 year search to become champions and Liverpool fans will be hopeful that he can inspire his newest employer to similar success.
Likewise, Balotelli has often been the key man for Italy in recent years. His individual heroics against Germany at Euro 2012 are the perfect example of what the 24-year-old is capable of and on his day he can be simply unplayable.
When Balotelli is fired up for a game, he can be a real threat – just ask the England fans who travelled to Manaus. If he can inspire the Reds to more points against the elite sides, then Liverpool fans should be in for another enjoyable season in 2014/15.
You can never have enough match-winners in the squad and Balotelli definitely falls into this category. At £16 million, he has the potential to emerge as the signing of the summer.