It was never going to work out. I wanted to believe that it could I really did. Combine tonight’s first half debacle of a performance with his overall lack of production in numerous opportunities I’ve decided the Mario Balotelli experiment at Liverpool is a failure.
I can give you all the X’s and O’s as to why he won’t work with the style of play that Brendan Rodgers and this Liverpool side are accustomed to playing. He is stagnant and lazy on the field, refusing to work into space and combine with dynamic, faster players around him, and instead demands balls played at his feet, or settles for being a weak target in the air. He has ability, he has flair, yet fails to exploit his talents at the right time. (His one goal for Liverpool this season backs this up.)
However, it is more than that. Balotelli doesn’t get Liverpool and he doesn’t get being a member of a team. I was willing to look past his prior antics with Man City (Why Always Me Shirts, constant rows with the manager, conflicts on the field with teammates…) but I can’t look past them when he does it at Anfield. To take your shirt off at halftime to trade with an opponent that has defended you with less effort than sneezing is absolutely ludicrous. This is a place that accepted Luis Suarez back with open arms after multiple suspensions for classless acts which he repaid in effort and production that put Liverpool back in the Champions League. Fans of Liverpool were willing to give Balotelli a pass and a chance to shine and instead he repaid them with a gesture of selfishness and ignorance.
Some people are standing up for Balotelli even still, saying it is unfair to blame Liverpool’s failures tonight on him. Maybe so, but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results… and the only results Balotelli fans receive is more insanity.
By Keith Allison (Flickr)
I have had a rough past few sports weekend. The Orioles have really been my only saving grace as Liverpool, Virginia Tech, and the 49ers have been inconsistent to poor in their past few performances leaving me to begin my work weeks with even more animosity and rage than usual. So here’s what I’m looking forward to:
West Bromwich @ Liverpool: Liverpool are struggling lately. Settling for a point last weekend against Merseyside rival Everton, losing to Basel Wednesday in Champions League and with only 6 points this season, the Reds need 3 points from this matchup.
Virginia Tech @ UNC: Dear Brewer… please don’t throw more than one interception. The fall from the excitement peak that was the Ohio St. game has been long and rough. I want to believe the Hokies can challenge for the ACC although I know they’re far from it.
Tons of other ranked matchups including a handful of SEC matchups that should make for great television and solidify how bad I am at College Pick Em.
Orioles @ Tigers: Up 2-0 after a huge comeback in game two the O’s are yet again pulling me through my other teams’ mediocre performances
Kansas City @ San Francisco: Big matchup as the Chiefs are coming off of mollywhopping New England all over the field. Alex Smith returns and I’ve never been more excited for him to throw interceptions.
More football and baseball postseason games and quality EPL matchups as well.
What are you excited for this weekend?
By Eddie Janssens from Brussels, Belgium
I’m not panicking… yet. That being said Liverpool must start turning around this slow start so they are not chasing valuable points at the end of the season. Here are my thoughts on issues/fixes that need to occur and quickly:
A) Back line and Mignolet must play better. Mignolet is constantly out of position in the net and that is allowing opposing teams the ability to get goals they should not be scoring. I’m losing faith in Lovren fast. He constantly is caught too high when his other center back (Skrtel or Sahko) steps to pressure the ball. He was too expensive to suck this much.
B) Injuries are upsetting the flow of the team. Lallana not being able to start the season has delayed his return to first team form. Sturridge who was supposed to carry the scoring load in replace of Suarez has missed a couple of games and his return is still in limbo. Joe Allen being out in the midfield is also hurting their depth since Coutinho is out of form.
C) The focus must still be on the EPL season. Remaining in the top four and obtaining the pay check from Champions League play should still be the most important goal for the season. We can’t afford to rest players like Sterling against teams like Aston Villa. These teams are content to sit in and counter and with Sturridge out and Sterling on the bench the rest of the squad lack the pace and creativity to get behind teams.
Last year’s EPL champions Man City only had 9 points in 6 results. Getting the win against Everton at home next weekend would put Liverpool at 9 points in 6 fixtures. It is a long season and there is still plenty of time for Liverpool to turn around this horrid start. However, with multiple competitions in the next two months between regular season games, league cups, and Champions League, staying healthy and returning to form is extremely important if they want to maintain the new standard that fans expect.
“Sturridge v Swansea” by Dean Jones – Flickr
We are three weeks into the EPL season and this weekend’s international break brings up a few questions after the first few rounds of action from the regular season:
1) How much will international duty cost club teams? Chelsea’s Diego Costa, Arsenal’s new signing Danny Welbeck, and Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge have all taken knocks while serving their countries. With Champions League starting and Cup action taking place teams are looking at 4 and 5 matches in the next 3 weeks. Could these injuries be costly for any of these three teams?
2) Can Manchester United’s 3 forwards work together? Falcao, Rooney, and RVP all on the same squad sounds VanTastic (yep that happened.) Former United player Paul Scholes disagreed earlier this week and said manager Van Gaal will have to leave one out but who?
3) How good are Tottenham? Their opening two games posted two clean sheets and 4 goals with the team showing a lot of attacking flair and creativity. Their last game against Liverpool showed must have been deja vu as they were once again shut out (3-0) and have been outscored by Liverpool 12-0 in their last 3 meetings. Their next 5 matchups include matches against Arsenal, Southampton, and Man City. How many points they gain there could set the tone for the rest of the season.
4) Can Leiscester City stay up? With a brutal opening schedule (Everton, Chelsea, Arsenal) for a newly promoted team the Foxes managed to garner 2 points. Two draws in those three matches have to leave the team and fans of Leiscester feeling fantastic. Their next 3 matches find them facing Stoke City and Crystal Palace on the road, while hosting Manchester United in between. King Power Stadium has been insane in their support for their local team and the main question is can Leiscester take that momentum with them on the road?
Feel free to weigh in!