Mario Balotelli could be one of the most infuriating soccer players who has ever existed. He has so much talent but can go months or even years without showing his full potential. It is infuriating as a fan because he is leagues behind where he should be as a player if he was only able to keep his head on straight. The above incident is a perfect example of why he cost so much less than he should have this past transfer window and why Liverpool were criticized for signing him. Who exchanges their jersey with a member from the opposing team at halftime? Liverpool were getting embarrassed 3-0 at the time and this basically says “This game is over.” Granted he was was substituted at halftime but did he know that before he exchanged the jersey? Even if he did know it would still be bad but if he didn’t it would be even worse. For a player under as much scrutiny as he is because of the way he has played since his arrival at Liverpool it was stupid to do this. The media was already eating him alive so he must have known doing something like this would only make it worse. Mario Balotelli had a chance to reinvent himself at Liverpool and he is failing to break out of his old habits. Luis Suarez had bad habits too but at least he scored goals and played his heart out.
Mario Balotelli got this for Liverpool’s upcoming derby against Everton. I believe the design is a Liverbird underneath a golden sky. Normally I would think these haircuts are too ostentatious but I think this is pretty cool. Only soccer players could get away with a haircut like this. Imagine going into your work tomorrow with this haircut? You’d be fired on the spot.
Something is very wrong with Liverpool. Although it has become cliche to ring the alarm bells during the first few games of a team’s season, especially when a team has so much promise and a long season ahead of them, these alarm bells are warranted. And at this point the alarm bells have become cacophonous. This team is not working. Plenty of analysts have been clamoring for Liverpool’s critics to ease up on their concerns because the team needs time to “gel.” They claim that the new and old players need time to learn how to play with each other and once they do they will become the team we expected to see after last seasons excitement. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly apparent that this point of view is overly optimistic. While many people enjoy a person who can see the glass as half full they never stop to question what the glass if half full with. In Liverpool’s case it is a glass filled with a warm stale beer that had been sitting on the table for over a day. After the past three games in the last week this Liverpool team looks like they may be much worse than analysts and fans feared. Tottenham began last season in a similar manner with several new players looking to “gel” with their new teammates and suffering some disappointing losses as they looked to do so. The problem was that the season came and went but Tottenham never did fully gel as a team. They looked as disjointed at the end of the season as they did in the beginning of the season. Fans kept waiting for the team to improve and the improvement never came. Tottenham was then forced to revaluate their team this summer which lead them to sell several of the players that were never able to gel with their teammates. It was, in essence, a lost season. Legitimate concerns are growing that Liverpool is facing the same fate.
Is Suarez’s absence the main problem? For starters, yes, his absence has definitely hurt Liverpool’s playing style. Last season Liverpool was frequently faced with opponents who would pack the box and force Liverpool to beat them. A man with individual brilliance was necessary to break these teams down and Luis Suarez provided this. His slipperiness and creativity were essential to breaking down the obstinate defenses that Liverpool was forced to attack against. A seemingly innocuous buildup could become a goal when Luis Suarez was in the game. He distracted defenders, created space, and freed up his teammates to have more time on the ball. Without him in this side teams have a lot less to deal with and as a result, are much harder to break down. It also does not help the Daniel Sturridge has been once again hit by the injury bug, forcing Mario Balotelli into a starring role when he was originally brought in to compliment Sturridge. However, the loss of one player does not excuse the woeful start to Liverpools’ Premiership campaign. Last season Luis Suarez was a big part of their team but it must be stated that this is also a team that scored over 100 goals last season and they showed that they have skill at other positions besides just forward. The loss of Suarez was a setback but it is not the main reason for Liverpool’s decline.
Injuries, the loss of Luis Suarez, and new players still needing time to gel with each other are just a fraction of what is wrong with Liverpool. A significant fraction, but still only a fraction. Defensively the Reds have been repeatedly exposed despite Brendan Rodgers bringing in new players specifically brought in to fix last years leaky defense. It was last years leaky defense that proved to be the achilles heel of Liverpool that would eventually lead to them losing out on the title to Manchester City. For the most part they were able to cover up their defensive frailty with goals but this season Liverpool, with the exception of their game at White Hart Lane, have been unable to score the goals necessary to offset their poor defensive performances. Profligacy in front of goal, mixed with a swiss cheese defense, has proven hard for Liverpool to overcome so far this season.
Losing Luis Suarez definitely hurts an offense but there is no excuse to become as profligate as they are considering the talent within the squad both from last season and the talent added over the summer. It is not that the players are incapable of matching last season’s success, instead it is as though the players have regressed. Last season Coutinho was a master at zipping in pin-point accurate passes that could lead to devastating breaks and goal scoring opportunities. Steven Gerrard used his newfound role last season to spray ambitious passes that could spur lightning quick counterattacks. The team as a whole was capable of replicating Barcelona styles at times to work their way out of tight spaces using brilliant passing triangles, movement, and vision. This season though Liverpool has yet to find that ability. There are brief times during games this season where they have looked their old selves but most of the time they look slightly off. Due to the style of play they have chosen, being slightly off can have tumultuous consequences. Whereas last season Coutinho could fit a pass through a pinhole, now his passes have been missing their mark and have gotten intercepted. Steven Gerrard has been man-marked out of many the games he has played so far and many of the other Liverpool players have looked uncomfortable on the ball. Almost as if they have lost their confidence. It was their soaring confidence that led to last seasons 11 game unbeaten streak and it is confidence that is needed by the players so that they remain calm on the ball and complete the perfect passes needed for Liverpool’s style to work. If Liverpool continues to play like they have been then their problems will further intensify and their confidence will continue to erode. Their problems need to be fixed and fixed fast or this season will get even worse.
Teams have rebounded from rough starts before. It is a long season and their are always bumps on the road. The concerns surrounding Liverpool are real but thoughts of this season being a failure are still conjecture. Daniel Sturridge’s return and a possibly blossoming partnership with Mario Balotelli could produce great things for Liverpool and lift then out of the Premier League basement. It is also possible that players such as Coutinho find their form and help lift the team back to the pedestal it was believed they would occupy this season. Only time will tell. Brendan Rodgers has a lot of work ahead of him though if he is to insure that fans look back on the end month of September as the wake-up call they sorely needed rather than the beginning of a long and fruitless season.
It’s called Steppingstone and it is a house built for a world class striker. Let’s hope Mario Balotelli lives up to his booking. But seriously how depressed do these photos make you? There are two soccer pitches in this house, indoor swimming pool, and a helipad. A FREAKING HELIPAD! That is just unnecessary nonsense but it’s the type of unnecessary nonsense these soccer players can afford. WAGs, the adoration of millions, and endless riches; what a life.
It has been a “done deal” for over a week now but today it has become official. Mario Balotelli has become a Red. A big part of Liverpool’s summer was centered around fixing the defense. After the departure of Luis Suarez it became clear that another striker would be needed or Liverpool would find it tough to repeat last season’s success. Mario Balotelli is a volatile character but if he plays like he is capable of and keeps his mouth shut then this could be the coup de grace that make Liverpool title contenders this season.
According to recent reports Mario Balotelli to Liverpool is all but a done deal for a fee of 16 million pounds (20 million euros, $26.5 million). For those who remember Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool vehemently denied this possible deal about a month ago so it comes as a little bit of a surprise that this deal has come to fruition. However, the ending of the summer transfer window has a funny way of expediting seemingly dead deals and this is just one example of the many times teams have denied deals only to engage in them after their desperation had grown as the transfer window began to close. Liverpool have been in desperate need for a striker ever since Suarez had left and the recent Southampton game showed how frail they were up top. When they needed a second striker to bring on in the second half against Southampton they brought on Rickie Lambert ,who they only brought in as a a “Plan B” striker, in a situation where they didn’t need a “plan B” striker but a game changer. It had become clear that they needed another striker to both team with Sturridge and back him up, as he has shown a propensity for injuries during his career.
There were quite a few names tossed around this summer such as Radamael Falcao, Samuel Eto’o, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Mario Balotelli, and Edison Cavani. Samuel Eto’o at 33 years old would be, at best, a bandaid in case Sturridge is ever injured. Radamael Falcao would have been a world-class player who would have demanded high wages and was rumored to only want a loan deal so he could jump to Real Madrid next season. Ezequiel Lavezzi is a wide attacking player which Liverpool do not need since they have Lazar Markovic and Raheem Sterling. Which would leave Edison Cavani and Mario Balotelli as the best two options for Liverpool. It seems as though Mario Balotelli is the cheaper option and AC Milan was more willing to let him leave which is probably why Liverpool went ahead and signed him. Liverpool cannot afford for the transfer window to end without them getting a high quality forward to pair with/backup Daniel Sturridge. Juventus was reportedly in the lead to sign Falcao and there were no guarantees PSG would let go of Edison Cavani because of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s recent injury. Therefore, in order for Ian Ayre to avoid the same criticism he faced when he missed on Yevhen Konoplyanka on the last day of the winter transfer window he needed to make sure he signed a quality striker before the transfer window closed. Mario Balotelli was the surest bet.
At 24 years old he has the youth that Liverpool seek in their transfer targets and has shown that he has the quality to step into the Premier League and score goals. The only knock on him, and it is a big one, is his immaturity and disciplinary problems. He was forced out of Manchester City by Roberto Mancini because he was fined so many times by the club and acted out too much. This is the main reason Liverpool fans are wary of this signing. Luiz Suarez was a huge headache because of his actions on the field and fans are fearful that Mario Balotelli will bring the same headaches and further sully the good name of Liverpool FC. The concern is a valid one but it is one that must be temporary ignored at this juncture. It is highly possible Mario Balotelli turns out to do more harm than good. Nevertheless, bringing him in is a necessary risk. At his price he is one of the cheaper top-tier strikers in the market, especially since he already has a proven track record in the English Premier League. That, coupled with the fact that Brendan Rodgers has shown that he is a good man manager, means that Liverpool and Rodgers may be able to get the best out of Mario Balotelli. If Liverpool cannot then they are buoyed by the fact that next year Divock Origi comes back from loan and they can get rid of Mario Balotelli. In order for Liverpool to achieve greatness this season they need another quality striker and they found that in Mario Balotelli. Now they just need to keep the ticking time bomb that is Super Mario from ever-exploding. For all of his disciplinary problems at least he never bit another player… three times.