Liverpool‘s Mario Balotelli has picked up an injury whist on duty with his national team.

Reports in the Italian media suggest that the player has injured himself training for Italy and has been sent back to Merseyside to be assessed further.

It is believed the Liverpool striker sustained the injury in training ahead of their Euro 2016 qualifier with Croatia.

Italy’steam doctor confirmed that the 24 year old had picked up an injury on Friday, but did not seem too concerned about it at the time.

He said: “Balotelli has a small hamstring problem. However, he’s not likely to have to leave the squad.”

However, Liverpool ECHO report that  the injury involves his groin and lower back – and is enough to withdraw Balotelli from the national squad.

The severity of his injury is, as yet, unknown.

This is the last thing that Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers would have hoped for. The Reds are currently struggling in the league and would have been hoping to kick start their season after the international break. Balotelli’s injury, if serious, would rule him out of the next few games and put added pressure on the fit-again Daniel Sturridge, who is also going to make a comeback to the team after three months.

Liverpool fans were hoping to see a diamond formation with two strikers on top in the form of Balotelli and Sturridge. The only game they took part in together was the 3-0 win over Tottenham, where the signs of an effective partnership were promising. If the ex-City striker is out injured, this formation and Liverpool’s more comfortable set-up would definitely have to wait for longer. Moreover, Balotelli’s personal form, which is not good at the moment, would be hampered further if he remains out on the sidelines for a large amount of time.

Italy, meanwhile, wouldn’t be left in an awkward position because of the striker’s injury as there was anyway little chance of him featuring for the all important clash against Croatia. Pelle has been in scintillating form for Southampton and the player is likely to be given a nod alongside Ciro Immobile. Even if the two don’t play together, it is likely that one of the two features for Conte’s side.

Liverpool and Balotelli would be hoping that his injury is not serious.