Liverpool limped to a scoreless draw at home to Bolton in the 4th round of the FA Cup yesterday and a certain Italian striker was conspicuous by his absence. Mario Balotelli didn't even make the Liverpool bench and manager Brendan Rodgers didn't exactly try to hide the reason why:
"He knows exactly what is required to be in this squad before he can be in the team, "I am judging it every day in training - Mario is exactly the same as every other player, there is no special treatment for anyone,"
"Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert are working tirelessly in training and when they go on they have contributed and young Jordan Rossiter, on the bench today, has been brilliant in training and I have to judge it on that.
"If you want to contribute you have to be at it every single day in training in order to be in the squad on matchday.
"It is difficult for him but he knows the level of this team is at - you see the aggression in our pressing and if you can't do that you are not going to be a part of what this team is trying to achieve.
So Mario's days are clearly numbered at Anfield but surely Rodgers himself needs to take some blame here? Balotelli was never suited to Liverpool's pressing game and it was Rodgers who believed he could change him. Why criticise a player for being exactly the player you bought?