Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted that signing former AC Milan striker Mario Balotelii was a calculated gamble and that the striker must improve.
The Liverpool manager has defended the signing of the 24-year-old but admits that Balotelli must improve his strike rate after scoring just one goal in seven appearances.
“I always said it was about availability and affordability of players,”
“Mario was the one right at the very end who was available for that. I said when he came in that it was a calculated risk and it’s something I have to work on to try to make it work for the team.
“You assess what the group had. We brought in Rickie Lambert as someone who can play some games for us and come off the bench and be an impact player for us in certain games. Daniel is a top Premier League player but has shown during his time here that he does get injuries so we needed to prepare for that. Obviously Fabio Borini looked like he was on his way out [to Sunderland].
“We had attempts for other strikers that didn’t materialise for one reason or another so it left us right at the end of the window with a decision on whether just to go with what we had, when experience told us we were too light, or take a calculated risk on a player who has quality and then could we get it out of him consistently?
The Italian international has been deemed a questionable signing by many pundits in the game, who doubt his ability to suit the style of play that Brendan Rodgers has implemented at Liverpool.
The former Manchester City striker failed to have a touch inside the penalty area as Liverpool suffered a 1-0 loss to FC Basel and Rodgers has admitted that the Italian must improve his performances.
“In terms of his behaviour he is consciously trying to work hard at what we demand here, the intensity and work rate. I think in terms of goals, he needs to improve. It is as simple as that.
“At this moment he has not hit the numbers he will have wanted. I encourage the strikers to get into the framework of the goal, wide players to come in and get into the framework of the goal and to break the lines. The quality of our service [against Basel] wasn’t up to the standard it should be.
“You also have to make and create goals yourself and he didn’t do that. But we win and lose as a team, and against Basel we were not good enough.”
Liverpool play West Brom on Saturday and the controversial Italian will be hoping that he can score his first Premier League goal for the Reds who have yet to find the form that saw them challenge Manchester City last season.
Dan Dalton, Pundit Arena.