Last chance saloon for Mario Balotelli

It can’t be denied that Mario Balotelli remains a big name in the world of football, whether it be because of his on-field or off-field antics.

I for one have always been a fan of the Italian and what he brings to the sport, but I fear he could be on his last chance. Not only is it his last chance at Liverpool, it is also his last chance at making it big in football and living up to the expectations he carried around with him in his younger years.

Ultimately, his consistent inability to settle at one club has resulted in Liverpool being his last opportunity to show he can be one of the world’s best, which is something he has always wanted to achieve.

Prior to the summer transfer window opening, his agent reportedly stated Balotelli’s desire to remain at Anfield next season, suggesting he is prepared to fight for his place, providing Brendan Rodgers decides to keep him at the club.

Everyone deserves a second chance and I believe a second season at the club would warrant this for the striker. Having said this, his known failure to pose as a long term servant to a club questions whether he will actually show any improvement at all. I can’t help but feel there is an aspect to the way he approaches his career that settles for what he has. With regards to this, he has been extremely fortunate if this is the case as he has proceeded to gain interest in his services after leaving Manchester City from top sides such as AC Milan, his former club, and evenArsenal before joining Liverpool from Milan.

Recent links to Italian side Sampdoria must act as a wakeup call for the Liverpool man as such a transfer represents a step down in his career and the prospect of never being able to feature for one of the world’s top teams.

If he is fortunate enough to stay at Liverpool, I beg he performs in a way that allows the fans to see how he realises just how big a privilege it is to play for such a historic club. It is all good demonstrating your love for the club on social media, but it must be expressed through his work for the team.

I beg he looks around him at the likes of Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho so he can see just how much energy they put into their game. Even if chances aren’t falling his way when utilised by Rodgers, hard work and determination will earn him respect from the Liverpool fans. Hard work and a little fight will go a long way towards improving his value to the team while more effort will eventually lead to him finding the ball at his feet more and on the end of more chances on goal.

The uninterested manner in which he so regularly approaches the game with has overshadowed just how technically gifted he is. He possesses a pace and power that makes him capable of making life difficult for even the best defenders. He has proven that he is a threat in front of goal with a respectable goal record during his time at AC Milan, however this hasn’t been evident at Liverpool.

Brendan Rodgers must also take some of the blame for his failure to make an impact given his reluctance to give Balotelli a consistent run in the side in a set up that suits the former Manchester City player. His debut againstTottenham Hotspur showcased potential for a successful partnership between himself and Daniel Sturridge. He must be played with a striker beside him and added attacking options around him to avoid him becoming isolated. There is always the danger that he will switch off from the game if he finds himself at the top end of the pitch on his own. In a way, he needs to right people around him both on and off the pitch.

It has been very clear that Rodgers has never really been a fan of the £16 million man. The Liverpool manager failed to come to the defence of Balotelli in a manner that would give the striker confidence. While many have blamed Mario Balotelli for causing a dent in the harmony of the team, Rodgers has very rarely supported his player publically which will contributed to his clear lack of self-belief on the pitch.

I would like to see him given another season to give him one more chance to prove what everyone knows he is capable of. I have always been a fan and am desperate to see him succeed. If you put in the work you have a greater chance of being accepted by the Anfield crowd.

Don’t waste this opportunity Mario Balotelli.

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