• Premier League

Balotelli will be 'trouble' jokes Rodgers

ESPN staff
August 26, 2014
City see off Liverpool

Brendan Rodgers has joked that Mario Balotelli will bring "trouble" to Liverpool but warned the striker he faces his last chance to make a name for himself at an elite club.

Rodgers revealed he had spent nearly four hours talking with Balotelli before his £16 million move from AC Milan was completed on Monday.

Asked what Balotelli would bring to the club, Rodgers told Sky Sports with a smile: "Trouble".

"Look at the talent. He's at a stage in his career where this is his chance," Rodgers added. "I've worked with those types of players all my life in youth coaching where I've never had the finished article.

Mario Balotelli watched on from the stands as Liverpool lost 3-1 at Manchester City © Getty Images

"He needs to be consistent and if he can do that he will be one hell of a player. Most players I like to look in their eye and see honesty and humility.

"We went three-and-a-half hours talking it through. He's at a massive club. We can help him improve his game - he's a very bright boy and he knows this is his last chance.

"I'm excited to work with him and improve him as a footballer as well as a person."

Balotelli was in attendance as Liverpool were beaten 3-1 by his former club Manchester City, where he was involved in a number of incidents on and off the pitch during his time there.

The Italian's own agent, Mino Raiola, had admitted "either it works here or it's a bust" for his client at Liverpool, with the club's former captain and manager Graeme Souness claiming Rodgers is taking a gamble he doesn't need to.

However, while Rodgers admitted he is taking a risk, he is confident it won't come back to haunt him.

"There is no doubt there is a risk with it, but it's a calculated risk," Rodgers told Sky Sports. "I have been able to assess what we have got as a team and the type of characters we have got. It is because of that environment that leads me to bring him in.

"I've been very [impressed] by the man himself because he is very honest. He knows his flaws and he is looking for someone to help him with it. He has already sampled how we work as a team and a club. Of course it was a risk. We are not going to say it isn't. He is a big talent."

Rodgers is confident Balotelli won't destabilise his settled Liverpool dressing room, adding: "I don't have any concerns at all. It's that culture that has allowed me to have confidence that if he comes in it won't be affected.

"I'm hoping that with the environment and culture we have created at this club, that he will embrace that and he will benefit from it.

"All my life I have given players an opportunity and this is a guy who when I looked in his eye I could tell. He is 24 years of age and he has become a father now. He knows he has a responsibility, not only for himself, but for this great club.

"We will treat him no different to anyone else. There is a lot of hype that goes around Mario, but for us he is part of our team and we are looking to work and develop that side of him."

Rodgers went on to suggest his decision to move for Balotelli was due in part to the limited options he had at his disposal in the transfer market a week before the September 1 deadline, but feels he has got himself a bargain.

"He is clearly a world-class talent," added Rodgers. "It has obviously been difficult for him at other clubs, but I have read people saying this is a make or break decision for me. I have done this all my life, I've taken players that people have wrote off and they have performed well.

"With Mario, the market was very limited with what we could bring in. The business was very good for us and we will see if it works. If not, at least we have tried."

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