Mario Balotelli sealed his move to Liverpool from AC Milan after passing a medical and agreeing a long-term deal to become the Reds’ ninth signing of the summer so far.
Balotelli’s signing is an important one for the Reds. The departure of Luis Suarez, Loic Remy’s deal collapsing and the doubtful future of Fabio Borini has made the addition of another striker an imporant need at the Merseyside club. They found their answers in Mario Balotelli.
Daniel Sturridge has assumed greater importance to Rodgers’ team since the sale of Suárez and the Liverpool manager is confident that their won’t be a clash between two great strikers when Balotelli joins the team and that the Italian’s arrival does not mean that Sturridge’s status with the team will be reduced.
“I have spoken to Daniel about how important he is to the team,” said Rodgers
“The confidence I have in him has been shown in his performances and goals – 36 in 50 – and you are not doing that if you are not happy with your life and happy with your football. I have said repeatedly that Daniel is a top talent, but we need to have more than one top talent in here. But he is a big player for us and will remain to be.”
Sturridge is expected to be offered a new contract by Liverpool this season and Rodgers insisted that the England international will welcome the competition from Balotelli.
“The dynamics are important but I don’t worry because if you are a top player with a top mind then you want other top players. If you are a top player and looking at another top player coming in then you will be thinking, ‘He can help us.’ A top player with a top mentality responds to the competition,” said the Liverpool manager
“We can also play a diamond. We played that eight times last year and won seven, and we flipped to that against Southampton. We can change systems and I need that flexibility. Also, if you look at Daniel’s injury record, then he has missed a number of weeks through being injured. I need to ensure I have got the replacements if they are not on the pitch at the same time.”
Upon the club’s official announcement of the deal, Rodgers spoke highly of the 24 year old ex-City player. He said, “I believe we have the infrastructure, culture and environment to get the best out of him and help him achieve his true potential. We are a strong group here, committed to hard work and he will benefit from being around it. I am looking forward to working with him and helping him learn more, improve and progress as a player. I’m sure the supporters will make him feel very welcome.”
Top Image Courtesy Liverpool’s Official Website