English Premiership

Rodgers: Balotelli a gamble

2014-10-03 12:49
Brendan Rodgers (Supplied)
Brendan Rodgers (Supplied)
Cape Town - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted the signing of striker Mario Balotelli represents a "calculated risk" for the Anfield outfit.

The Reds said goodbye to Luis Suarez at the end of last season, with the Uruguay international joining Barcelona in a reported €88m move to the Nou Camp.

Rodgers feels a player of Suarez's talents is irreplaceable and admits his biggest challenge is getting Balotelli to live up to expectations.

Reflecting on his business in the off-season transfer window, Rodgers said: "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 [Sturridge] 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?"

He added: "There are very few players who can replace Suarez ... actually, there are no players who can replace Suarez.

"When you look at the availability of other players during the summer, it was difficult for us.

"It's no good now, I know, but we took a player in Divock Origi who we believe will be world class and we'll get him [from Lille] next summer.

"He is a top player. He has everything - the speed, the profile and he can play now - but our deal was that we couldn't bring him in now.

"That was unfortunate because he can run in behind, he can keep the ball and he can press but that was the deal.

"There were very few who are top class who were available and Mario Balotelli was a calculated gamble that we had to try to work with."


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