EXCLUSIVE: The Anfield legend believes the Italian has failed to adapt to the style of his new team and still has the selfish streak that undermined his time at Manchester City
By Russell Stoddart
Mario Balotelli is destined to fail at Liverpool because he has been unable to adapt his game to the needs of the team, according to Anfield legend Ray Houghton.
Balotelli has endured a difficult start to life on Merseyside since arriving in a €20 million deal from AC Milan in the summer, scoring just twice in 14 appearances in all competitions and drawing criticism for his perceived lack of effort and poor attitude.
And Houghton, who won two league titles with Liverpool as a player, does not believe the mercurial Italian is capable of eradicating the on-field selfish streak that undermined his time at Manchester City, Inter and AC Milan.
“He is not a ‘team player’ and has failed to adapt,” Houghton told Goal of Balotelli. “He needs to come short more often and get involved in the build-up, but he isn’t doing that. This is not a big surprise, he was the same at Manchester City and both Milan clubs.
“Balotelli has to adapt his game to suit Sturridge and Sterling, but I fear that won’t happen.
“The frustrating thing is that it can work. The best performance of the season was the 3-0 win at Tottenham on Balotelli’s debut in August. He linked up well with Sturridge, with Sterling playing at the head of a diamond. There was pace and power similar to last season.
“Will we see more of that when Sturridge returns? I hope so, but Balotelli is not delivering on a regular basis.”