There's a saying "don't go looking for trouble, trouble will find you" but in the case of Liverpool FC, they might have went and did the exact opposite. Having already disposed troublesome star striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona for a fine fee, one would have thought Ian Ayre and Brendan Rodgers would've looked for a replacement that wouldn't capture headlines for all the wrong reasons. It was never easy to replace a striker of Luis calibre, he is the ultimate striker, while many won't agree with that statement, there is no denying his quality upfront and any team would kill for a player like that. So the search began, after securing the services of Ricky Lambert, many thought he was the guy.
Whilst fans of Liverpool FC received taunts from supporters of other teams that we replaced Suarez with Lambert, we really didn't know what the management had up there sleeve. Take nothing away from Ricky though, I always thought he was fantastic striker for Southampton, he has been consistent over the years and deadly at free kicks, so having him in the squad would keep the flow of goals going should Sturridge have a bad day at the office. Also what we've come to learn from Rodgers style of play that while bulk of the goals did come from up front, we did rely on players from other positions to chip in when they can.
Then came the bombshell, when rumours started about Balotelli, they weren't just hearsay, they were strong ones coming from all the right people in the know. Next reports of him saying his final goodbyes to his team mates at AC Milan surfaced from Italy. Reports of him being spotted at Manchester airport the next day were rubbished by some but when pics of him surfaced of him arriving at Melwood, there was no denying that Mario was on the radar for LFC.
Why though? We know his track record and on and off field antics, did we really need another trouble maker in the squad? After all the misery Suarez dragged the club through for things unrelated to football, did we really have to add another potential problem to our squad? Well, like Luis, there is no denying the quality of Mario, he is superb and at times leaves you dumbfounded at his skill. He aint no Suarez but he is his own brand of player. One that focuses on getting the job done, as he said once in an interview on why he doesn't celebrate after scoring "When a postman delivers letters, does he celebrate?". He has the right mentality but occasionally strays from the path but I have faith in Rodgers guiding him to glory.
Last season after Luis returned from serving the rest of his 10 game suspension, he went an entire season without doing anything controversial, as soon as he joined up with his Uruguayan team for the World Cup, he lost it and bit a player...again. Whether it was bad management from his countries side, I feel a lot of his good behaviour had to do with Rodgers. He guides players a lot and devotes a lot of one on one time with all of them, I think his influence on Suarez was lacking at the World Cup and that probably caused him to snap. Whether Rodgers has the same effect on Mario, it remains to be seen but I think I speak for most of us when I say I cannot wait to see what he can do for us.
You'll Never Walk Alone