LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 25, 2014: Liverpool's Mario Balotelli looks dejected as his side draw 0-0 with Hull City during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mario Balotelli’s Liverpool treatment continues to cause debate

The debate over Mario Balotelli’s Liverpool career is continuing to spark contrasting opinions among fans.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 13, 2014: Liverpool's Mario Balotelli in action against Aston Villa during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Reports earlier this week suggested Balotelli, as well as with Fabio Borini and Jose Enrique, have been frozen out of the first-team — all three training separately to the rest of the squad and not involved in the club’s pre-season tours.

It appears to be a clear statement from Brendan Rodgers that they are surplus to requirements and are looking to be sold, but it is last summer’s £16 million signing from AC Milan, Balotelli, that is the focus of conversation.

Fans discussing the saga online appear divided, with some siding with the Italian striker, claiming he’s been treated unfairly or not given a proper chance at Anfield. Others believe enough is enough and the Balotelli experiment is over.

The Liverpool Echo‘s James Pearce later wrote in his ‘Blood Red’ column:

A minority of fans believe that Balotelli has been harshly treated by Rodgers and that he deserves the opportunity to prove he can adapt to the Reds’ style. They are deluded.

Here is that very poll, which you can still vote in:
[interaction id=”55b75c61b41a2ec513ce1534″]

However, with just four goals in 28 appearances last season, and the arrival of strikers Christian Benteke, Danny Ings and Divock Origi to compete with Daniel Sturridge for first-team places, where could Balotelli fit in?

Furthermore, it could be argued that Rodgers gave Balotelli ample time to settle in and find his form before the warnings were given out.

“We need to ensure that whatever level of the game we are playing at we have everyone working as a team and once we got the penalty he stops working. So he needs to improve on that facet of his game to play in his position, rather than standing on the side of the football field.”
— Rodgers on Balotelli in The Guardian, February 2015

Andrew Ronan on This Is Anfield believes Balotelli may never realise the opportunity he had to become a hero at Liverpool:

Whether he realises that or not only he knows. Maybe when he’s struggling for form or moaning about his role in the side when he’s at a lowly Italian club, or whoever he trades down to, he’ll finally realise the chance he had to become a legend at Liverpool. Given that it’s Mario, though, he might not ever realise it.

What do you stand over Balotelli and his Liverpool career? Let us know and join the debate in the comments section below, or on Twitter by following us: