No special treatment for Mario Balotelli as Brendan Rodgers puts faith in new striker

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Brendan Rodgers is refusing to be drawn into the hype surrounding Mario Balotelli’s arrival at Liverpool.

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The Reds completed the £16 million signing of the 24-year-old striker from AC Milan on Monday and he could make his debut in Sunday’s Premier League trip to Tottenham.

Since news of Liverpool’s interest in Balotelli broke, there has been a wave of interest with young fans standing on bins outside the club’s Melwood training ground to catch a glimpse of the Italian international.

The media, too, has certainly raised the excitement of Balotelli’s return to the Premier League following his headline-making spell at Manchester City between 2010 and 2013.

But Rodgers says Balotelli is no different to any other player at the club and won’t be given any special treatment.

As level-headed as ever, Rodgers is quoted in The Mail On Sunday as saying, “He is going to be treated the same as every player here, that’s for sure. A repeat of what happened at City won’t happen here. It’s a different style. We have different conditions at Liverpool. You have to behave yourself in a certain way. Simple.”

Much has ben made about Balotelli’s attitude after alleged fallouts at both Man City and Milan.

But having worked with him in training this week, Rodgers has been reassured about the forward’s maturity.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 17, 2014: Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers before the Premier League match against Southampton at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Mario wants to prove how much he loves this country,” Rodgers said. “He left as a young guy a couple of years ago but he now really appreciates it.

“I have spoken at length to Mario since he has been here. He is definitely a mature boy. He is very, very bright. I think he now feels that it is time to show the type of player he is. Everyone knows his quality and we have seen it this week in training.

“We have seen the sheer power and pace and the touch that he has. He wants to score goals and I think he wants to do it consistently now. That is why we are working really hard on his football. This won’t be the Mario Balotelli show for the press every week.”

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Tottenham v Liverpool gets underway at 1.30pm on Sunday and is live on Sky Sports 1 in the UK.

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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