• Premier League

It's not Balotelli show at Liverpool, says Rodgers

ESPN staff
August 29, 2014
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Brendan Rodgers has warned Mario Balotelli he must not expect to be the star of the show at Liverpool.

Balotelli signed a three-year contract when he completed a £16 million move from AC Milan on Monday, and is in line to make his Liverpool debut when they visit Tottenham this Sunday.

Some Liverpool fans have been spotted climbing on top of cars and bins on the street next to the club's Melwood training ground this week in attempts to peer over the fences as Balotelli practised with his new team-mates.

"I don't think they were climbing just to see him," Rodgers said, however. "It's not the Mario Balotelli show. He's a good player and he's talented but he's got a lot of work to do.

"We've got a number of top-class players, and the star of this team will always be the team. I don't think they were climbing on the bins just to see him."

Rodgers has acknowledged that signing a player with Balotelli's reputation for indiscipline is a risk. The Liverpool boss is doing his bit to manage that risk, having told the 24-year-old he must live on Merseyside rather than return to the outskirts of Manchester, where he was based for much of his time at Manchester City.

Balotelli lived in the Cheshire villages of Mottram St Andrew and Alderley Edge, both around 15 miles from Manchester, during his two and a half years at City after arriving in the summer of 2010.

It was while he was based in Mottram St Andrew that the fire brigade had to be called to his house in October 2011 after fireworks were let off in his bathroom - and Rodgers believes Balotelli will be more focused on his new club, and a fresh start, by being closer to Liverpool.

"His concentration is very much on his footballm" Rodgers added. "He's settled in this week. He's moving to Merseyside. He's engrossing himself into the club and the people, and more importantly into his football.

"That's something I'm looking forward to seeing develop over the coming years."

Rodgers is confident that Balotelli, once described as "unmanageable" by his former Inter Milan manager Jose Mourinho, will be a success at Liverpool.

He added: "Mario's fine. He's settled in very well. He's looking fantastic in training and he's a good lad. He's top quality, there's no doubt about that. He's a class act with wonderful football qualities.

"We're looking to bring him in here. He can play up front with Daniel Sturridge, he can play on his own, he can play off the side."

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