Liverpool “need a solution” for surplus striker Mario Balotelli – Jurgen Klopp

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that he is looking to move Mario Balotelli on ahead of the 2016/17 season.

Balotelli spent the previous campaign on loan with AC Milan, but the Serie A side opted against signing him on a permanent deal after he spent much of the season battling injury.

This left the striker with little option but to return to pre-season training under Klopp at Melwood, and Balotelli reported to the Reds’ training ground on July 2.

Omitted from Klopp’s matchday squad for their first pre-season friendly away to Tranmere Rovers on Friday night, however, it was clear that Balotelli did not feature in the German’s plans.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Klopp confirmed this was the case, and insisted Liverpool “need a solution” as they search for a buyer.

“I have spoken to him about this. He’s not at the stage of his career where he should be battling with four or five other players for one or two positions,” he said.

“We want him to become the player he was before his injury—the talent is still there, there’s no doubt about it.

“When we have done the crossing, heading and stuff he’s been world class.

“But this is not a situation where he should be battling with other players like this for one position, so it’s clear we need a solution.

“There will be a club around who would be happy to have the new Mario Balotelli. I have spoken clearly to the player about that.”

Jurgen Klopp (Photo: David Rawcliffe / Propaganda)

Klopp is clearly planning to build his system around a lone striker for 2016/17, with both a 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 on view at Prenton Park last week.

With Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Danny Ings recognised centre-forwards, and both Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane able to deputise up front, Klopp has his “four or five” options.

Like Christian Benteke, who is likely to join Crystal Palace this summer, Balotelli finds himself surplus to requirements as a result.

Suitors have been few and far between at this stage, however, with newly promoted Serie A outfit Crotone the most eager to secure a deal, and another loan move has been mooted.

Liverpool were also reported to be exploring the possibility of reaching an agreement over terminating the players’ contract, though this would be a last resort.

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